There are many dangers associated with excessive substance use and substance use disorder (SUD). For example, some of the common dangers include the development of physical health conditions or additional mental disorders. However, other potential dangers include physical changes and trauma that can occur in the brain; specifically, physical changes that can cause impaired brain function. So, what can be done to fix this damage? What exactly does substance use do to the brain or even the body? Is it possible to rewire the sober brain? What role can neuroplasticity play in healing the brain?
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use or is asking these same questions, you’ve come to the right place. West Coast Recovery Centers can help you and your sober brain heal from the damage of substance use today.
How Substance Use Affects You and Your Brain
Substance use, in general, has many risks; even for people not struggling with SUD. For instance, drug overdose and death can occur by using cocaine or methamphetamine even one time. Over time and through continued use, these risks can increase, leading to many complications with an individual’s mental and physical well-being.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), drugs impact how neurons in the brain send, receive, and process signals. Often, responses caused by substances like heroin or marijuana imitate natural transmissions that occur in the brain. However, these unnatural transmitters cause the body to crave more reactions than the body can produce, ultimately leading to dependency. Even worse, this is only a single way in which substance use affects the brain.
Another response experienced through substance use is an unnatural surge in dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates motivation and pleasure in the brain. The more a substance is used, the more this response triggers. These dramatic changes in neurons, the brain’s reward circuit, and even the potential decline of white matter in the brain are all dangerous risks associated with substance use. Thankfully, research can confirm that the brain can recover from these consequences. Healing is due in part to a number of effective addiction treatment modalities. However, the healing process and obtaining a sober brain takes time.
What Do People Mean by Sober Brain?
Many people use the term “sober brain” to simply describe a brain motivated by healthy activities instead of substance use. When under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a person’s greatest motivation is to use substances. Addiction is a complex, chronic brain disorder that impacts our thought processes, causing substance-seeking behaviors.
Getting the brain to function again without substances takes time, but when it does get there, it can be referred to as a sober brain. Just as the brain changes because of substance use, it’ll begin changing during recovery. Learning to manage things like emotions and behaviors with a sober brain may be an initial challenge. However, it’ll become second nature over time. The more critical question to ask early on in recovery is how to achieve a sober brain.
What Is Neuroplasticity?
The brain is an amazing thing as it has the ability to repair itself in circumstances. Neuroplasticity, in particular, is one way your brain can heal and rewire itself. As stated in Neuroplasticity by authors Puderbaugh and Emmady, neuroplasticity – sometimes called neural plasticity or brain plasticity – is defined as “a process that involves adaptive structural and functional changes to the brain.”
Essentially, what happens during recovery is individuals develop healthy habits to help them avoid substance use. These habits cause changes in the brain that ultimately help restore cognitive function and reinforce those healthy habits.
Furthermore, neuroplasticity can help and teach people to manage their stress response, learn new hobbies and skills, and even regulate pain. These are all critical to abstaining from substances, obtaining a sober mind, and maintaining long-term recovery.
How Can You Achieve a Sober Brain?
If you’re wondering what it takes to achieve a sober brain, the simple answer is seeking treatment. The addiction treatment journey will help you through detox, utilizes evidence-based modalities, and helps you learn how to function without substances. That includes learning to regulate emotions, manage cravings, and avoid substance use with a number of unique tips and tricks.
As you progress in your treatment program, your mind will slowly start healing. Your body will acclimate to abstaining from substances, your neurotransmitters will begin stabilizing, and your brain’s dopamine balance will reset. The more time that passes, the more your brain can heal.
The more you make healthier life changes and practice healthy coping mechanisms, the more you’ll brain will adapt. Ultimately, this will substantially impact your treatment and recovery journey as your mind slowly begins to heal. To start your healing journey, consider West Coast Recovery Centers today.
Most individuals know the implications and consequences of excessive and long-term substance use. Drugs and alcohol profoundly impact the brain. They cause unnatural transmissions, increase dopamine levels, and physically rewire pathways without a person knowing. Unfortunately, this can lead to a number of adverse consequences on physical and mental well-being, but thankfully, the brain can heal from this trauma. As one begins making healthier life changes, the brain will slowly adapt, thanks to neuroplasticity. The more changes you make, the more your brain can heal, which is critical to helping you manage stress, pain, and other complex emotions without substances. For treatment or to learn more about neuroplasticity and how it can rewire the sober brain, call (760) 492-6509 today.