Can The Brain Recover After Drug Use?

From cocaine to methamphetamine, many addictive substances can permanently affect your brain. Stopping and making a genuine effort to remain sober can help you improve. Learn more about brain recovery after drug use in this article.

Proof that Drug Use Affects the Brain

There is overwhelming evidence that consistent drug use can leave a permanent impact on the brain. While this is true for a wide range of addictive substances, some of them affect the brain in different ways. Using advanced equipment, scientists are able to measure brain activity of addicts and clearly highlight the areas where brain function is decreased due to drug use.

An Example: How Cocaine Rewires the Brain

The effect of cocaine on the brain sheds light on how addictive substances can completely change your way of thinking. As shown in both animal studies and research on the brain, cocaine ultimately affects your ability to feel happiness and a sense of reward. Here’s how it works:

Addiction Changes Your Ability to Be Happy

Our ability to feel happiness or a sense of accomplishment comes from hormones. When dopamine or oxytocin are released, it leads to positive feelings that we would normally get from being social, achieving meaningful goals, or other natural methods. When first taking cocaine, or other addictive substances, it sends a surge of dopamine that lasts longer than usual, creating a strong, yet false, sense of pleasure.

However, to reach that pleasurable state takes a stronger dose, and your tolerance builds up with each successive use. Before long, the addict is using their chosen drug just to feel normal again. Even worse, the addict’s brain has been trained to only experience happiness from this external substance, so the normal pleasures in life can’t trigger a dopamine response any longer. This is the downward spiral of addiction.

Does the Brain Recover As You Become Sober?

While your brain may never be 100% as it was before you began using drugs, it can recover after drug use with every day of sobriety. Considering your goals, loved ones, and other things that may give you purpose may be the stimulation you need to fight your addiction and truly become sober. Over time, the small things in life can become pleasurable again, and your brain can be significantly healthier and more functional.

We Can Help You On Your Path To Sobriety

Whether you do it for your own happiness, loved ones, or some other cause, there are many great reasons to seek recovery. Drug abuse changes your brain chemistry, but with a strong effort toward recovery, you can maximize your brain function and live up to your potential. If you need a peaceful atmosphere in which to work through your 12 Step Program, contact Myrtle Beach Recovery today to schedule a tour of our facility. We look forward to meeting you.