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Substance Use Is Difficult to Combat

Our brains are wondrous things as they continuously adapt daily to the amount of food we eat, the amount of sleep we get, or to experiences that we have. Brains have a way to adapt themselves to function in the highest manner in various circumstances. However, when substances enter the brain on a regular basis, this produces distinct changes in the brain circuits. Some of the brain circuits that get influenced by substances are stress, decision-making, and pleasure. Substance abuse is difficult to combat because of the changes that happen inside the brain.

Changes to the Brain

There are many substances available to us to ingest, and each of them causes different reactions inside the brain. For example, substances stimulate the reward pathways in the brain. When an individual receives a reward, the brain notices the moment as pleasurable. Additionally, the brain will recognize situations when the individual could obtain a rewarding experience later on. It becomes difficult to break repeated use of substances because the brain recognizes the substance as an enjoyable reward, thus causing the individual to want more.

How Brain Changes Create Addiction

As the brain starts becoming accustomed to repeated use of a given substance, it builds tolerance to it and begins to acknowledge having the substance as its new normal. As the substance continues to be used repeatedly, the brain is trained to associate the pleasurable experience with other cues, thus intensifying the likelihood that the individual could become addicted.

As the process moves along, individuals may lose their ability to quit using the substance because the brain recognizes the substance as a way to escape unpleasant circumstances or emotions. This is one of the main reasons substance abuse is difficult to combat. The substance alters the individual’s neurological state; after repeated use, the substance is needed more often and in greater amounts to produce the desired pleasurable effect.

Fighting the Battle for Control

When the brain gets used to good feelings as a result of substance use, the individual wants more of the substance more often, even though the person knows that they are indulging in an unhealthy habit. Fighting the battle to eliminate substance use becomes even more difficult yet more vital. Most adults can control impulses and desires when it is necessary. However, when someone struggles with substance abuse, they have difficulty making judgments and resisting impulses because of the chemical changes in the brain.

As a result, even though the individual struggling with substance abuse may want to stop, doing so becomes more difficult, and it can seem as if the substance is controlling their behavior and actions. Fortunately, it is not impossible to combat substance abuse. There is hope to combat any stage of substance abuse and return brain chemistry to a healthy state; however, it is not done alone. If you or someone you love struggles with substance abuse, finding appropriate treatment options tailored to meet the individual’s needs can result in a successful and healthier outcome.

At The Guest House, we understand how substance abuse can evolve and deepen over time. Our modern treatments and individualized plans are customized for you. We want to address both the internal and external elements of substance abuse, and with our strong support network, we can help you rebuild a healthier life. For more information on overcoming substance abuse, or if you want to talk to someone who understands the difficulties of fighting the battle, we are here to help. Call us at (855) 483-7800.