Addictive brain vs. normal brain
Addictive brain vs. normal brain, The conceptional idea of addiction is quite incomprehensive. Addicts eventually lose control to quit despite the adverse effects as well as the loss of pleasurable outcomes.
For a clear vision of understanding the concept behind getting addicted to something, let’s get to know how a normal brain works and the influence of drugs on that.
How is brain functions in Addictive brain vs normal brain:
- The human brain is such a massive neural network that interconnects to coordinate and perform specific functions.
- The interconnection between neurons is proceeded by the release of neurotransmitters into the gap (synapse) between neurons.
- The neurotransmitter crosses the synapse and attaches to receptors on the receiving neurons, which subsequently causes changes in the receiving cell.
- Other molecules called Transporters function as regulatory molecules for neurotransmitters by limiting or shutting off the signal between neurons when necessary.
Drugs effect on chemistry of brain:
Generally, drugs interfere with the reward system of the brain.
In a healthy person, the reward system reinforces important behaviors that are essential for survival, such as eating, drinking, sex, and social interaction. For example: the reward system ensures that we reach for food when we’re hungry, it makes the activity of eating memorable and pleasurable.
Drugs of abuse hijacked this system; turning the person’s natural need into drug needs.
Reward system of the brain:
- The major reward pathways involve transmission of the neurotransmitter Dopamine from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the midbrain to the limbic system and the frontal cortex.
- Engaging in enjoyable activities activate dopamine-producing neurons of the VTA; causing the release of Dopamine into synaptic space. Subsequently, Dopamine binds to and stimulates dopamine-receptor on the receiving neuron; thus the pleasurable feelings or rewarding effects are produced.
Drugs of abuse:
Most drugs of abuse increase the level of Dopamine in the reward pathway more than normal state, which causes a continuous stimulation _maybe over-stimulation of receiving neurons resulting in prolonged and intense euphoria_.
- some of them indirectly excite the dopamine-producing neurons in the VTA (such as alcohol, nicotine, and heroin).
- Cocaine acts as the nerve terminal. It binds to the dopamine-transporter and blocks the re-uptake of Dopamine.
- Methamphetamine which is a psychostimulant act as cocaine to block Dopamine removal. In addition, it can enter the neuron, into the Dopamine-containing vesicles where it triggers Dopamine release.
Results of drug abuse:
- Repeated exposure to Dopamine surges caused by drugs eventually desensitizes the reward system. Subsequently, the system become no longer responsive to everyday stimuli.
- The drug is only thing to be rewarding. And it become the highest priority to a person’s survival.
- After sometime, even the drug loses its ability to reward and higher doses were required to achieve the rewarding effect; which leads to drug overdose.
Teenager brain and addiction:
- The brain of a teenager is rather hyperexcitable in comparison to later in life, which indicates it’s more vulnerable to injuries from things ( one of such is substance abuse).
- Recent studies have shown that addiction uses the same molecular biology and physiology; therefore, teenagers can become addicted faster and stronger than adult brains. This suggests that those who may got drugs at the teenage period are more susceptible to have a long term addiction.