Several mental effects are resulting from drug abuse and addiction. One of them is various neurological effects. Many drug abusers shrug off the effects of their addiction and downplay them as normal behavior. However, it’s important to know that anyone can become addicted to pharmaceutical and illicit drugs. It is an important issue because when people are in a constant state of denial, it can be tough to detect drug abuse among themselves or loved ones. That can cause other problems since it can result in worse physical and mental symptoms.
There are various causes of neurological diseases including drug addiction. Several membranes insulate the human brain and spinal cord since they can be vulnerable to pressure/force. Also, nerves under the skin can also suffer damage.
A neurological disorder can affect one neuron or a whole neurological pathway. A small disruption of the structural pathway of a neuron can cause dysfunction. Thus, there are several causes of neurological disorders including
- Physical injuries
- Environmental effects
- Bad nutrition
- Lifestyle causes
It’s important to understand the way drugs affect the brain. The human brain is the body’s most complex organ even though it only weighs about 3 pounds of white and gray matter. It’s needed for various activities like eating a meal and driving a car.
Various parts of the brain have different functions. Meanwhile, drugs can change key brain regions that are needed for key functions. It can also drive the compulsion of drug abuse that’s a sign of addiction. Drug abuse can affect various regions of the brain including:
- Brain Stem
It controls the brain’s functions that are critical to life including breathing, heart rate, and sleeping.
- Cerebral Cortex
This part of the brain is divided into different areas that control different functions. Various areas process data from our senses, which allow people to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. There’s the front part of the brain known as the “frontal cortex.” It is the thinking center that powers a person’s ability to plan, think, make decisions, and solve problems.
- Limbic System
It includes the reward circuit of the brain. It links several brain structures that control/regulate a person’s ability to feel pleasure. That motivates people to repeat behaviors that are important for human existence. Activities like eating/socializing activate the limbic system. However, drug abuse can also activate it. The limbic system also helps people perceive positive and negative emotions. It helps to explain why several drugs can alter people’s moods.
How do drugs affect the brain? The chemicals impact the brain by affecting the communication system and causing inference in the how neurons usually send/receive/process info.
Certain drugs like heroin can activate neurons because the chemical structure copies a natural neurotransmitter. It tricks receptors and lets the drugs connect to/activate neurons. These drugs can copy the brains chemicals, but they activate neurons differently than the natural neurotransmitter. It results in abnormal messages getting transmitted in the brain’s network.
There are other drugs like cocaine that can cause the neurons to release big amounts of the brain’s natural neurotransmitters. They can also prevent normal recycling of the brain chemicals. The disruption results in an amplified message that disrupts the brain’s channels for communication.
How is the brain affected if a person keeps taking drugs? There’s a big difference between normal rewards vs. drug rewards. The brain can adjust to big surges in various neurotransmitters by making less of it or lowering how many receptors get signals. It can lower the impact of dopamine on the brain’s reward circuit. In turn, this reduces the person’s capability of experiencing any pleasure.
This situation explains why a person who abuses drugs starts to feel lifeless and depressed after a while. They’re also unable to enjoy the things that gave them pleasure in the past. The person needs to keep taking drugs over and over to get the dopamine function up to normal. It makes the situation worse because it’s a continuous cycle.
Also, the person often needs to take larger quantities of a drug to get the same dopamine high. It is referred to as “tolerance.”
Long-term drug abuse can have a negative effect on the brain’s circuits. It can result in major changes to the brain circuits and neurons. In fact, the brain’s long-term effect could also be affected. One example is glutamate. It’s a neurotransmitter that affects the brain’s reward circuit and its capability to learn. When the ideal concentration of glutamate is affected by drug abuse the brain tries to compensate, which can result in the cognitive function being impaired.
There are other long-term effects of drug abuse, not the brain. It affects the way important brain structures work to control/inhibit different behaviors linked to drug usage. Long-term drug abuse can result in intolerance or high drug dosages to create an effect.
It can also result in addiction. It can result in the user trying to get and use drugs compulsively. Drug addiction affects their self-control and ability to make good decisions. It also creates strong impulses to use drugs.
It might be surprising but archeological evidence shows that brain operations took place centuries ago. For example, there are papyrus writings from ancient Egypt dating back to 3,000 BC that includes the first usage of the word “brain” in world history. The knowledge was basic, but Egyptians made key observations about the human nervous system.
Meanwhile, the “Father of Medicine Hippocrates wrote several texts about brain surgery. He was very familiar with signs of head injuries. In fact, many of his writings were still medically accurate two millennia after his death.
There were several developments in neurology afterward. They include Da Vinci’s diagrams of the human body, Humphrey Ridley’s “Anatomy of the Brain” (1695), a Nobel Prize for brain peptides (1977), brain hemispheres (1981), visual system (19810, nerve cell growth (1986), and signal transduction (2000).
Here are some of the most common physical symptoms of neurological effects of drug abuse:
- Difficulty reading/writing
- Muscle weakness
- Poor cognitive abilities
- Unexplained pain
- Partial/complete loss of sensation
- Decreased alertness
- Partial/complete paralysis
There are also various emotional effects that result from neurological problems. These can include sudden outbursts or mood swings. There are other results of such disorders like delusions and depression. If a person experiences these conditions/disorders, they might not be caused by neurological problems.
However, if you observe several of these types of symptoms in you or someone you know it’s critical to get help as soon as possible.
Another issue to keep in mind is there are short-term and long-term effects of neurological instability. When neurological issues aren’t deal with it can result in major results. The short/long-term effects can involve various effects based on the disorder and the condition’s severity. For example, it’s common for people experiencing such disorders to experience depression one or more times.
The symptoms of various neurological disorders can also become worse over time. So if you or someone you know might be showing signs of drug abuse/addiction, it’s important to get assistance as soon as possible. It can help to deal with the situation as soon as possible and especially important issues like symptoms. The sooner you take action, the sooner you can see some progress.
Testing is an important part of the process to determine what neurological disorders a person might be suffering due to drug abuse/addiction. Various types of testing can be done including neuropsychological testing, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, physiological studies,
It is a type of radiosurgery system that’s used to treat tumors and other medical conditions.
- Deep Brain Stimulation
It is an advanced type of brain surgery that is used to treat various neurological disorders. It can be used to treat conditions like tremors and depression related to drug abuse.
- Gamma Knife
It is radiation and treatment for people with various brain disorders. It involves a machine that provides a high dose of radiation and causes little/no damage to tissue. Abnormalities smaller than 1-inch in diameter can be treated via the Gamma Knife.
There are several OTC and prescription drugs that can be used to treat various neurological disorders that result from drug abuse/addiction.
- Drug Abuse
Drug abuse is linked to various types of neurological complications. So it can be very dangerous when someone taking drugs for such conditions abuses the medications. These are powerful pharmaceuticals that are used to deal with abnormalities related to the brain’s neurons and circuitry. When these drugs are abused, it can result in serious results.
There’s also the fact that recreational drugs can also result in various neurological conditions. It can result in things like strokes and hemorrhage. In fact, these effects can even happen within minutes to 1 hour after taking the drug. Delayed strokes have also been observed. Besides neurological effects, there are other body parts that can also be affected including the heart, lungs, and so on.
It’s important to note that the effects of abusing neurological drugs can be serious. In fact, the results can be severe and sometimes even permanent. Chronic drug abuse has been linked to several neurological risks, and they can sometimes be fatal.
Like “street drugs” pharmaceuticals for neurological conditions can also be very addictive. For example, several substances are linked to strokes. They include stimulant drugs, narcotic medications, and others.
Neuroscience has provided a great opportunity for developing new drugs to treat various conditions. There’s no steady increase in the number of FDA-approved drugs for neurological conditions. In the past, there were many such pharmaceuticals on the market in the 1950s and 1990s. The trends are showing the approval in drugs that target various indications in the field like seizures.
There are various new drugs on the market to treat these conditions. However, it’s important to learn about how addictive certain meds are. It is especially true if the patient has a history of drug/alcohol abuse. The good news is that not all drugs for neurological conditions are highly addictive. However, some are so it’s important to do your research before starting a new drug.
A physician can help with the situation because they’ll be able to guide the patient regarding picking a medication that is less addictive. An important issue is that neurological conditions can be quite serious so it’s important to use effective treatments. Drug addiction is serious, but it’s also a treatable condition. In a sense, this justifies the risk of using certain pharmaceuticals if they can provide an effective treatment for different conditions.
- Drug Rehab/Recovery
There are various types of drug rehab and recovery for people who are addicted to neurological drugs. If you or someone you know might be dealing with this issue, it’s important to get tested and evaluated as soon as possible. The drugs that are used to treat various neurological disorders can be very effective. However, they also contain strong chemicals and can have several unwanted side-effects.
It highlights the importance of preventing abuse of the drugs as much as possible. Various resources can help a person addicted to pharmaceutical drugs for neurological conditions. The process involves the rehabilitee and recovery from the addiction. There are various approaches including detoxification, counseling, support groups, and so on.
What’s most important is to take the first step. That includes the person admitting that they have a problem. Once they take that step, they can then start dealing with their problem and seek treatments so they can start recovering from the addiction. It is critical to start dealing with the situation in the most effective way.
There are several different approaches that rehab/recovery centers use to help people recover from neurological conditions. What’s most important is to pick one that produces the best and fastest results. It will help the patient to get back to their everyday life before the addiction. That can help to improve their quality of life for them and their loved ones.