It can be difficult to understand drugs if you have no experience with them; even if you do, you may not know the scientific reasons why your brain becomes addicted and craves these substances. In the article, you will gain a broad insight into your brain’s working on drugs and why it is so challenging to quit them. How do drugs work to fool the brain?
How Do Drugs Work In The Brain?
The brain is a complex network of synapses and neurotransmitters. Normally, a synapse receives a signal from the body and releases a neurotransmitter into the gap between synapses. It then attaches to a receiver on the connecting cell.
Different drugs interfere with the process of communication between synapses. For instance, marijuana and heroin contain chemicals that mimic the neurotransmitters, while amphetamines like cocaine cause them to release abnormally large amounts of neurotransmitters.
How Do Drugs Fool The Brain?
As stated, drugs fool the brain by interfering with the normal neurotransmitter processes. For example, they might trick the brain into releasing a neurotransmitter to a synapse when there is no signal from the body or overcommit too much of the neurotransmitter into the synapse, causing disruptions and hallucinations.
This can be further confused by the environment and actions of the drug user which might cause signals in the brain to be misinterpreted. Abnormal messages sent through the brain’s communication system will start to reinforce wrong messages in the brain causing short-term and long-term issues for the user.
How Do Drugs Create Pleasure?
The reason why drugs create pleasure in the brain is not well understood, and more research is needed. However, it is thought that the over-commitment of neurotransmitters to the brain’s synapse releases large amounts of the brain’s natural opioids – endorphins and increases activity in the basal ganglia.
The basal ganglia is the area of the brain responsible for feeling “rewards.” Under normal functionality, this center produces small amounts of dopamine and endorphins to encourage essential functions like eating, sleeping, having sex, and enjoying social interactions.
What Is The Role Of Dopamine?
This is why you want to continuously eat the same delicious meals twice or take mood-enhancing drugs. But, of course, drugs might not be the only thing you’re addicted to; it might be social media, computer game consoles, sex, running, or any other enjoyable activity.
The reason is that the brain has evolved to support pleasurable activities by releasing dopamine that floods the system. This has an evolutionary explanation – pleasurable activities lead to a higher chance of reproduction, but drug use interrupts the natural balance and creates issues.
Why Are Drugs Addictive?
Firstly, drugs are addictive because they release large amounts of serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine into the brain, which feels pleasure. This alone is enough to retake a drug, searching for the same effect. But there’s another reason drugs can be addictive.
When these neurotransmitters flood the basal ganglia, it rewards the center of your brain, leading to craving. When the neurotransmitter retreats, the basal ganglia continue to expect the same level of chemicals; when it doesn’t arrive, it asks for it through cravings.