Delray Beach, FL – It’s well known that drug and alcohol abuse impact people’s health in a number of significant ways. Substance abuse can lead to addiction as well as a host of other physical, mental, and emotional disorders. A lesser-known fact is that substance abuse directly affects the health of the brain and can even cause permanent brain damage. Effective behavioral health care can help break the cycle of addiction halting further damage to the brain and body.
One of the ways drugs and alcohol affect the brain is by releasing large amounts of the neurotransmitter dopamine, one of the “feel-good” chemicals that naturally occur within the body. Eventually, the brain and body come to rely on this heightened level of dopamine and trigger withdrawal symptoms when drugs and alcohol are removed. It’s at this point that addiction has set in.
Prolonged and excessive drug and alcohol use is what leads to the most severe health consequences like brain damage. The type and severity of brain damage that can occur depend on the substance used, length of use, and the method of use. Almost all forms of brain damage are caused by either oxygen deprivation, malnutrition, alteration of brain chemicals and hormones, or by directly damaging and killing neurons and their pathways. Many types of brain cells and their connections to one another cannot be replaced once they’ve been damaged. The ones that can be repaired may take months or years to heal.
Another brain disorder, Hepatic Encephalopathy, is caused by severe liver disease. Toxins build up in the bloodstream because the liver cannot adequately filter them out, causing brain damage. Symptoms of Hepatic Encephalopathy include changes in personality, mood, and sleep patterns, as well as developing anxiety, depression, shortened attention span, and coordination issues such as shaking hands.
Many individuals who struggle with substance use disorders also suffer from malnutrition, especially vitamin B1 deficiency which is necessary for proper brain function. Vitamin B1 deficiency can cause Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. Symptoms of WKS include changes in vision, confusion, and exaggerated storytelling. With continued alcohol and drug abuse, symptoms worsen and will eventually develop into a lasting syndrome known as alcohol-related dementia.
People struggling with alcohol or drug addiction are at risk for developing all these types of brain damage as well as the syndromes mentioned above. Early warning signs include hallucinations, lack of coordination, problems thinking, severe memory problems, and delayed reactions. It is difficult to diagnose the extent of brain damage while someone is still abusing drugs.
The good news is there is help. Getting sober with the help of professional addiction treatment can prevent further damage and also open the doorway to treatments to reverse brain damage when possible. The earlier an individual seeks treatment, the better the chances are for minimal brain damage.
It’s very difficult to stop using drugs and alcohol on one’s own and detoxing at home can be extremely dangerous. The best way to overcome addiction is to find a reputable treatment center that can help. Legacy Healing Center’s holistic and individualized approach includes balancing nutritional deficiencies and providing dual-diagnosis treatment to diagnose and treat underlying mental health issues that may be present. With a detailed physical, mental and emotional assessment, a treatment plan can be established that works to heal damage to the body, mind, and spirit caused by addiction. Legacy Healing Center’s programs aim to help individuals achieve long-term sobriety by finding the root causes of the addiction, teaching tools that can be applied to real life, and providing a comfortable environment so patients can focus on their healing.
For anyone struggling with addiction looking for guidance on where to start, call Legacy Healing Center at (888) 534-2295. Their expert staff is always ready to answer any questions and begin the admissions process when the time is right.
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]
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