If you’ve been struggling with addiction, it’s likely that you’re physically and mentally exhausted. Not many people fully comprehend the toll psychoactive drugs take on the brain. It’s too easy to focus on the effects that are desirable to you and diminish how dangerous and harmful substance abuse is to your mental health. Gaining an understanding of the emotional effects of drugs and how they impact your psyche is highly beneficial during recovery and as a method of preventing relapse.
Impact on Neural Pathways
Drugs affect the brain in various ways. For instance, stimulants cause an influx of excitatory neurotransmitters, while downers cause the release of inhibitory neurotransmitters. The result is that once the effects of the substance wear off, your body’s supply of these vital chemicals has diminished. That’s why you feel depressed and down after a session of drug use or find it difficult to sleep or relax without the aid of substances.
Some drugs, such as opioids and benzodiazepines, hijack your neural pathways, meaning you need to take the drugs to feel normal. All drugs hijack the dopamine system, which is responsible for motivation, reward and pleasure. Dopamine is released when we carry out essential functions such as eating or exercising. This chemical encourages us to repeat the action and, unfortunately, drug use tricks the mind into believing you need substances.
Chronic substance abuse disrupts your emotional responses to a dangerous extent, often leading you to become fixated on drug use and neglect important aspects of your life. This, in turn, puts you in situations that cause further emotional distress.
Exacerbation of Mental Health Issues
If you’re someone who started off using drugs to make themselves feel better, you aren’t alone. Many people who use substances have underlying mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and personality disorders. Getting high provides a temporary release from the symptoms of these illnesses, which can be incredibly difficult to resist.
In the long term, drug use messes with the way your brain works, and you’ll end up feeling progressively worse. Learning how to curb impulsivity, cope with stress and think in the long term are the most useful ways to overcome mental illness and prevent relapse. Most people can only achieve this with professional help.
Drug addiction rarely only affects the person who’s suffering from the condition. It puts a tremendous strain on the people you love, who have to watch you inflict physical and mental harm on yourself. Denial, irritability and deception go hand-in-hand with substance use disorders, causing arguments and tension. Spouses and parents often end up bearing the brunt of the adverse effects, and relationships become strained and unbalanced.
Ongoing drug abuse and continued arguments and tension can push personal relationships to breaking point. Additionally, drug use often causes feelings of paranoia and agoraphobia that prevent you from attending social events or practicing hobbies you once enjoyed. When you prioritize getting high, healthy pastimes and friendships tend to fall by the wayside, leading to social isolation. As human beings, interacting with people is a crucial component of happiness.
The repercussions of drug use are significant and varied, but you still have the chance to reclaim your happiness — no matter how long you’ve been using. If you’d like to speak to an expert about how rehab can help you to overcome the emotional issues associated with drug use, call Calusa Recovery at 844-254-9664.