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24 hours rehab

Call Now for Immediate Confidential Help and Advice 02038 115 619 

24 hours rehab
Immediate Access for help and advice
02038 115 619

Brain Disorders and Addiction Explained

Brain disorders are a group of diseases that result from structural abnormalities in the brain. This page looks at what brain disorders are and their role in addiction and mental health disorders.

What are Brain Disorders?

Brain disorders, as the name suggests, are disorders resulting from structural, biochemical or electrical abnormalities in the brain.

Brain disorders are commonly known as neurological disorders, which can impact bodily functions and cognitive functioning.

Your brain is your body’s nerve centre. It’s part of the nervous system, which also consists of the spinal cord and a big network of neurons and nerves. Together, the nervous system controls everything from your senses to the muscles throughout your body.

Brain disorders consist of many different neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy, as well as mental health disorders such as depression and schizophrenia. Brain disorders can also be linked to other areas of the body, including the spinal cord.

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Is Addiction a Brain Disorder?

Because drug abuse leads to modifications in the structure and performance of the brain, drug addiction is considered a brain disease by many. The initial usage of alcohol or other drugs, for the majority of people, is voluntary. Over time, modifications in the brain caused by repeat exposure can impact a person’s self-control and their ability to make good decisions.

These changes to the brain are what make it challenging for an individual to stop using substances. Comparable to other chronic, relapsing diseases such as diabetes, heart, or asthma disease, drug addiction can be managed effectively. And just like other chronic diseases, it is not uncommon for an individual to relapse resulting in substance abuse and addiction. However, not all addiction researchers and psychologists agree that addiction is a brain disorder.

There is practically no data in humans indicating that addiction is a brain disease in the way that, for example, Huntington’s or Parkinson’s are brain diseases.

Today evidence suggests that this presumption must be reevaluated to create a more precise view of drug addiction.

How Addiction Changes the Brain

People feel pleasure when basic requirements such as thirst, hunger and sex are satisfied. In most cases, these feelings of pleasure are brought on by the release of specific chemicals in the brain. The majority of addictive substances trigger the brain to launch high levels of these same chemicals that are related to pleasure or reward.

Addiction, therefore, impacts your brain’s reward, motivation, memory, and associated circuitry to the extent that your motivations are modified around the addictive behaviour.

The preliminary and early decisions to use substances show an individual’s free or conscious option. Nevertheless, once the brain has been hijacked by addiction, that choice or willpower ends up being impaired.

Abuse of drugs or specific behaviours leads to modifications in the structure and performance of the brain, hence why many hold the view that addiction is a chronic brain disorder.

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