Mental Suffering: How You or a Loved One Could Suffer Brain Damage from Drugs
As more than 23 million Americans deal with substance abuse and addiction problems of various kinds, it’s important to know that each result is different. However, there are some patterns in how drugs and substance abuse lead to mental health problems and certain types of brain damage. If you’re worried about your own mental health or the mental health of a loved one, you need to learn about brain damage from drugs.
Here are some examples of how the brain reacts to substances.
How Brain Damage Happens
After prolonged drug and alcohol use, the brain’s most essential nutrients are going to be missing from brain tissue. That means that a brain is going to be starved of the things that help it to grow.
There’s some direct damage caused that disrupts the function of the brain as well. Injuries and the death of brain cells often occur after long periods of substance abuse. The brain’s neurotransmitter receptors struggle to function normally after time being deprived of nutrients.
The brain’s chemical concentrations are altered after drug and alcohol use. The hormone receptors cause the body to react unpredictably or the inability for the brain to respond to normal stimuli.
Even the tissue in the brain is going to be deprived of oxygen, which causes it to decay or to underdevelop.
Different substances have different impacts and it’s important to know how things are linked.
Dementia Is Usually Linked to Alcohol
If you or a loved one is showing early signs of dementia, it could be that the nutrients required to maintain brain chemistry have been deeply disrupted. This creates a thiamine deficiency, meaning the body isn’t able to produce the right amounts of B vitamins. Without supplements, the body can suffer a serious vitamin deficiency.
All of the tissues in your body require this vitamin. Your heart, your liver, and especially your brain need to absorb it to function.
Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff’s psychosis are two conditions that can develop in the case of alcohol abuse. This appears as nerve paralysis and mental confusion. While it might just seem physically or mentally debilitating, it’s actually a deadly condition
Brain cell damage over time leads to debilitating dementia with the inability to send or connect messages inside of the brain.
Anhedonia Comes From Cocaine and Meth
If you or a loved one is suffering from a general gloominess or the inability to derive pleasure from joyful things, it could be anhedonia. If this is the case, it means that the brain’s dopamine receptors are unable to function as they would normally. The dopamine receptors are liable to be damaged or even to completely die off.
This type of brain damage might appear under different symptoms than you might predict. You’ll notice that you or your loved one seems to be uninspired, sad, or unhappy doing things they normally enjoy. Without the drug, they might not be able to find any pleasure at all in life.
Actual cell death is a serious issue that can last much longer than the point where the drug is no longer used. The results appear as a deep depression or even self-destructive or suicidal thoughts. With dopamine receptors damaged, it’s harder to be happy.
Psychosis Is Linked to Marijuana
While marijuana is widely regarded as the least unsafe of all illicit substances, it still has its problems that need to be intelligently regarded. People who use the drug on a daily basis are more likely to develop certain problems than people who don’t. The mechanisms still require some understanding but it turns out that psychosis is a long regarded result of prolonged pot use.
Those who may have already had a predisposition toward schizophrenia or other mental health conditions may have their issues exacerbated by marijuana.
Brain damage and cannabis use still require a lot more studying to be done but there are connections to be regarded as serious issues. As people use marijuana more frequently, the size of the hippocampus and the amygdala could be reduced in size. With these two parts of the brain implicated in schizophrenia, it’s important to consider the potential connection between the two.
Marijuana is less harmful but not harmless.
Some Damage Is Permanent While Some Is Not
Depending on which type of damage the brain suffers, recovery is fully possible for many who’ve suffered problems from drug use. Damaged brain cells could be rebuilt, missing nutrients could be reintroduced, and chemical pathways could be established once more. However, the damage that leads to dementia can’t be reversed in most cases.
Damaged receptors are able to be rebuilt but receptors that are fully destroyed can’t be made new all over again. Most people need surgery, a dietary change, or medication to get back to where they’d prefer to be.
Treatment and technology advancements have allowed people who’ve lost function to regain some of it. Some functionality can be recovered, reintroduced, or retrained. However, in most cases, abstinence from abuse is the only way to truly avoid permanent damage.
You or your loved one need help in reducing cravings to avoid relapsing and disrupting the work begun to repair the problems created by drugs and alcohol.
Brain Damage From Drugs Is a Major Issue
While you don’t hear many people talk about brain damage from drugs when they talk about substance abuse, it’s a serious issue. If you’re not aware of how your mental health could be impacted and decide to take a drug carelessly, you could be risking your health and happiness.
If you’re wondering what really causes addiction, check out our guide for more.