What are some of the long-term effects of drug use on the brain?
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), most drugs overstimulate the brain’s neurotransmitter called
dopamine, a chemical that nerve cells release so that the brain can send signals.
The brain has multiple dopamine pathways. One of those pathways is known
to have a distinct effect on the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.
By taking drugs, this system becomes overstimulated.
Over time, the brain adapts to an overstimulated dopamine system by producing
less dopamine or lower the number of overall receptors, making it more
difficult to function normally without the drugs. The NCADD also states
that long-term drug use can affect regions of the brain used for judgment,
learning, memory, and behavior.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), drugs tap into the brain’s communication system. Drug use and
abuse can impede the brain’s ability to send, receive, and process
Perhaps NIDA summarized the long-term effects of drugs on the brain best,
“Drug addiction erodes a person’s self-control and ability
to make sound decisions, while producing intense impulses to take drugs.”
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, contact Turning Point
to discuss our
drug detox program in New Jersey.