Treatment of chronic diseases, including addiction, require the changing of deeply rooted behaviors. The brain has an amazing ability to recover from addiction. The Recovery Research Institute states that much like cardiovascular disease damages the heart, drug abuse damages the brain. Substance abuse treatment is necessary to help the brain recover. Abstaining from an addictive drug will have immediate effects on the brain’s ability to recover. The brain will experience a great deal of recovery after one year of abstinence from a drug. Inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, individual and group counseling and a strong support system will help the patient experience maximum brain recovery.
Drugs Trick the Brain’s Reward System
When you experience something pleasurable, such as the taste of your favorite food, your brain releases dopamine. This is referred to as the feel good hormone because it makes you feel good. It’s your brain’s way of rewarding you when something good happens. When drug abuse is present, addictive drugs create a shortcut to the brain’s dopamine system. Addictive drugs cause dopamine to be released immediately after using the drug, flooding the brain with the hormone. This is the high that addicts are seeking and it is what keeps them coming back for more and more of the drug. Addictive drugs can cause the brain to release dopamine two to 10 times more quickly than natural rewards and can do so more quickly and reliably. Over time, the drug will have less of effect and the person will have to use more of the drug more frequently to get the same high they were previously experiencing. This is why a person becomes addicted. They have to have that drug and more of it to get high. It’s a vicious cycle, but fortunately, with help a person can beat the addiction.
Brain Recovery Depends on Addiction Treatment
Research has shown that the brain has a remarkable ability to repair itself. Recovery begins with treatment. Because withdrawal symptoms can be severe and make the patient very ill, it is best to choose inpatient treatment. This allows a professional medical team to monitor withdrawal symptoms and give proper medications to combat the effects of withdrawals and lessen the severity.
Therapy is recommended during treatment and after. Group and individual therapy sessions will allow a patient to retrain their brain so that cravings are reduced and gradually disappear. This will make relapse less likely. Therapy should continue as it will help retrain habits and help the patient identify situations that could be triggers. The longer a person abstains from drugs, the quicker the brain will repair itself. Studies have shown that after one year of sobriety, the density of dopamine transporters in the brain return to almost normal levels. Although relapse is a normal part of recovery, it can also signal the need to speak with a medical professional to resume, modify or change treatments.
Help is Available
Addiction is manageable, but you will likely not be able to do it on your own. The caring staff at Baystate Recovery Center is available to help you in your time of need. Our medical professionals have extensive knowledge and experience in successfully treating addiction. If you’re ready to face your addiction and take your life back, contact Baystate Recovery Center today.