How Drugs Can Affect The Brain

December 5, 2012

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Drugs Can Affect The Brain

Drugs Can Affect The Brain

Drugs can affect the brain in destructive and profound ways.

Let us compare your body to a massive corporate office building, and liken the brain to a set of multi-million dollar computer servers at the top floor that runs all the telephones, computers, security systems, lights and even the sprinkler system. Everything is rolling along beautifully: the phones all work, all the employees can do their jobs, the doors let people in that are supposed to be there and keep out intruders, the lights go on and off when they should and the flowers outside stay watered.

Now introduce the nastiest cyber-virus known to man, manufactured in a hackers den in Finland or China. This virus infects every server and pervades the entire nervous system of the organization (the building’s electronic networks): you hit Mary’s number and Joe answers, no one can move about the place because the doors are all locked, then they unlock at midnight when everyone is gone, lights flicker wildly and the flowers die.

This is what happens when a drug hits the brain. The brain and central nervous system are a complex array of organs, specialized tissue, cells, neurotransmitters (chemicals), receptors and impulses. For starters, drugs can cause irreversible damage to the cells and tissue of the brain. Studies have shown significant brain damage caused by alcohol, cannabis, prescription stimulants (such as Ritalin), ecstasy, cocaine, inhalants (glue, paint) and crystal meth – to name a few.

In addition, to straight up physical damage, drugs can affect the brain in the way neurotransmitters are used in brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit signals throughout the body by way of nerve cells (neurons) and the Drugs Can Affect The Brainbrain. There are over 50 different types and they transfer instantaneous messages about pain, pleasure, emotion, sensation and memory. These transmitters act upon cellular structures called receptors. These receptors can trigger physiological and emotion responses. Without getting too technical, a drug can wage guerilla warfare against this delicate system and cause excessive release of neurotransmitters – essentially flooding the receptors. Drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines, for example, shock the body with chemical overload. This produces the high – but as with all drugs, the person crashes lower than before. The “solution” is another hit of the drug in an attempt the get the same high. So the downward cycle of drug abuse begins.

Drugs can affect the brain during its development stages – that of a child or teenager and, more shockingly, an unborn fetus or baby. Drugs and alcohol taken by a pregnant woman easily cross the placenta and enter the baby’s body. After childbirth, these same chemicals also transfer to the infant through the mother’s breast milk.

A report by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) lists 30 separate types of brain and neurological damage in babies, all brought about by ingestion of alcohol by pregnant mothers – including seizures, tremors, deficient motor skills, abnormal brain cysts or cavities and mental retardation. Other reports have also shown that psychotropic drug use – antidepressants, Lexapro, Zoloft, Cymbalta, etc. – by pregnant or breastfeeding mothers can produce similar neurological damage, birth defects, premature birth, infant withdrawal symptoms and death.

The facts indicate that you, your brain, your body are much better off without the interference of drugs.

Sources for this article:

  1. http://www.drugfreeworld.org/#/interactive
  2. http://teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/facts_brain1.php
  3. http://www.fasdcenter.samhsa.gov/educationTraining/courses/CapCurriculum/competency1/brain1.cfm
  4. http://www.cchrint.org/psychdrugdangers/medwatch_psych_drug_adverse_reactions.php

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