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THE SCIENCE BEHIND ADDICTION: EFFECTS OF DRUGS ON THE BRAIN AND BODY

Both prescription and illegal drugs like heroin work with the same mechanism that is intended to reduce pain sensations by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and other organs. The drug creates a sensation of drowsiness and slows down breathing, often to a dangerous extent if opioid addiction is present where the potential for overdose is significant.

Abuse of prescription opioids can often be a consequence of prolonged pain due to injury or illness that leads to someone taking more than the prescribed dose to fight agonizing pain and possibly developing a dependence on the substance. It is principally the effect of opiate-based drugs on brain function that is the most dangerous element of addiction.

The Link between Opioids and Mental Illness

It is not unusual for someone to struggle with opioid addiction and mental illness at the same time.

A number of mental disorders can lead to addiction and conversely, opioid addiction can also lead to mental health issues in different ways:

  • Someone suffering a mental disorder may start to self-medicate with opioids to manage the symptoms of their condition.
  • The kind of meds used to treat mental health disorders can sometimes prompt sufferers to seek alternatives that produce the same chemical affect.
  • Reduced resistance to drug use due to prolonged use of prescribed drugs that affect impulse controls.
  • Chemical imbalances in the brain as a result of substance abuse can create, heighten and uncover mental health issues.
  • Using substances can often expose users to more stress as a consequence of their addiction which can lead to an inability to deal with difficult situations and ultimately a mental disorder.

The Most Common Underlying Factors Contributing to Opioid-Induced Brain Disorders

There are certain characteristics at play that contribute to concurrent development of addiction and mental health problems, as follows:

  • Genetic disposition

A person’s genetic makeup can make them more or less likely to develop mental health issues or addiction problems. A predisposition for mental health disorders can facilitate a path to substance abuse just as an addictive personality can lead to mental health issues.

  • Personality

A strong desire to take risks or thrill-seek are personality traits often found in both addicts and sufferers of mental health disorders.

  • Brain Chemistry

A chemical present in the brain called dopamine is affected by using substances and also certain mental health disorders. Changes in the brain from one disorder have the potential to increase the development in the other.

Find the Right Addiction Treatment in Southern California at CASA Recovery

If you are experiencing mental health issues that you suspect are the result of opioid abuse, CASA Recovery can give you the help and support in a tailor-made drug and alcohol addiction treatment program. We provide a wide range of therapies and proven rehabilitation techniques that can give you a firm foundation for a life of sobriety. Our rehabilitation center near Mission Viejo, CA offers the perfect environment to deliver individual care with holistic treatment techniques or conventional methods for drug addiction treatment in Orange County. For more information about how you can take the first step towards an addiction-free life, contact CASA Recovery in confidence at our addiction recovery center in San Juan Capistrano, CA.

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