How Addiction Impacts the Brain

Understanding How the Brain is Affected by Addiction

Due to our better understanding of substance abuse, we now accept that alcohol and drug addiction is a mental health condition. The traditional view that an addict lacks a moral compass or needs to supplicate themselves to a Higher Power still exists, although it lacks resonance with modern day values. The fact is that substances affect our brains, which in turn creates negative behavioral patterns that progressively become a compulsion beyond our control. Here we take a closer look at how drugs and alcohol affect the brain.

How Addiction Impacts the Brain
What happens to the brain when a person takes drugs?

Substances work by affecting the brain’s “reward center” which creates a euphoric feeling as it is flooded with dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical messenger and the reason why drugs are commonly referred to as “dope”. When a person continues to use drugs or alcohol regularly, their brains come to expect regular stimulus which manifests itself as cravings to use more to recreate the feeling.


Cravings can be very uncomfortable, often starting as mild flu-like symptoms and gradually getting worse in time unless treatment is sought. If the person feeds their cravings by using more drugs or alcohol to reduce them, they will soon start to feel the effects of tolerance. Tolerance is something that develops when the body becomes used to getting a certain amount of drugs or alcohol so the person needs more to get the benefits they seek.


When someone is tolerant to substances they are on the precipice of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol. Unless they seek treatment, it is very likely that they will progressively decline further into substance abuse. This is because the next phase after tolerance is dependence, when the compulsion to use will be completely beyond the control of the addict.

How Addiction Impacts the Brain

Choose Casa Recovery for Effective Addiction Treatment in Orange County

The effects of addiction on the brain are significant and in some cases, can be long-term. The human brain continues to develop until around the age of 25 and so younger people are more susceptible to the damage done by prolonged substance abuse. Casa Recovery offers a path to recovery that is personalized to your unique treatment needs. Our exclusive addiction rehab center in San Juan Capistrano, CA offers the perfect environment for healing. Contact Casa Recovery today to find out more about your personalized path to addiction recovery.


Our Care Team is Ready to Answer Any Questions.

Casa Recovery offers a wide range of treatment options for those struggling with mental health and co-occurring issues. We are here for you and ready to assist in any way we can. Contact us right now to get the help you deserve from a group of people who care.