Great progress has been made in the study of the human brain. New insight was gained on how our brains change as we age, and how are brains are affected by diet, loneliness, and even Facebook activity.

As we study and research we gain a more complex understanding of how the brain works, and how the substances we put in our bodies affect our cognitive processes. Our growing understanding of the brain helps us to better understand how the brain is affected by drugs and alcohol. And specifically, which areas of the brain are affected by drugs and alcohol.

  1. Nucleus Accumbens: This area of the brain is a rewards centre. This area is impacted when you use drugs or consume alcohol. It causes your drive for consumption of these substances.
  2. Hypothalamus: This are is distorted and impacted by drugs and alcohol. This affects your thirst and hunger.
  3. Hippocampus: This area of the brain is responsible for memory, and drugs/alcohol affect your recall abilities and can cause blackouts.
  4. Cerebral Cortex: Judgement is affected and your inhibitions are lowered when this area is affected by substance abuse.
  5. Cerebellum: Problems in this area affect your coordination, and your ability to stay steady.
  6. Medulla: When this area is impacted by substance abuse it can cause problems with your heart rate, respiration, consciousness, and other things that can put you in serious danger.

There is little wonder that people who engage in drug and alcohol abuse can’t trust their own reasoning. Their brain is a toxic playground.

The human body will try and adapt to changes in its internal environment. When you put a drug in your system, your brain will try to compensate. However, prolonged and increased drug use may get you to a level where your brain is unable to keep up. Concurrently, your body is adapting to the presence of the drug in your system and this status becomes your ‘new normal’. When you decide to detox, your brain goes into withdrawal. It is painful, it is difficult, but it is possible.

Find more information and resources on overcoming drug addiction here.