Brain damage and substance abuse have a familiar and unfortunate relationship. Not only is brain damage caused by addiction, it can be the cause of addiction. These co-occurring mental disorders perpetuate each other, leading to a vicious cycle of anguish, self-medication, and lack of control.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drugs like methamphetamines and heroin can cause widespread brain damage that leads to irreversible neurological effects that the individual will have to life with for the rest of their life. If you are addicted to one of these drugs, or any other substance, please enroll in an addiction recovery program as soon as possible to limit the risk of irreversible damage.
Drug use also uses up the stock of dopamine,and other happiness inducing chemicals, that are needed to make a person feel good and derive pleasure. The vicious cycle of addiction is mainly due to depleting, or over stimulating, the brain with dopamine and other pleasure rewarding chemicals until the normal levels released isn’t enough to produce euphoria. After years of continuous drug addiction, the brain is unable to give you pleasure and permanent brain damage occurs.
The inverse is also possible. For example, people who take part in contact sports are known to have a higher drug use rate, especially with painkillers like opioids. According to ESPN, 52 percent of football players admitted to misusing pain medications, with 15 percent admitting that they have misused pain pills within the last 30 days.
Repeated strikes to the brain can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) which leads to a similar decrease in the pleasure gratifying chemicals in the brain that engage satisfaction. These people who receive repeated head injuries then have trouble being happy in their everyday lives, and have difficulty shying away from pleasure inducing activities that aren’t rewarding in the long run, but are appealing in immediate situations.
In addition to what we normally think of as brain damage, mental illness cause by both drug use and head injuries can cause mental disorders. Depending on the case, mental issues can both cause, and be a cause of, drug addiction. The cyclical nature of the disease forces the individual to continue using harmful substances even though they aren’t doing their bodies any good.
According to the CDC, 67 percent of people in rehabilitation have had a history of drug abuse, and half of those people return to drug or alcohol use. Instead of self-medicating the pain and confusion of brain damage, drug addiction and recovery education is imperative. These people who have a co-occurring addiction and brain damage or mental disorder need to enroll in an addiction recovery center for dual diagnosis mental health treatment.
If you or anyone you know is having trouble with brain damage, a mental illness, and/or a drug addiction, please call Intervention Drug Rehab so we can help connect you with the ideal drug rehab center and set up a consultation to find out the full extent of your addiction and co-occurring mental health problems. Don’t delay, call today!