Addiction is a complex disease impacting the function of the brain. The part of the brain that causes addiction is called the mesolimbic dopamine pathway. It is sometimes called the reward circuit of the brain. Let’s take a deeper look into the causes of addiction and how this area of the brain is impacted. At San Antonio Recovery Center, we focus on more than just treating the symptoms you have. Addiction counseling dives deep to ensure what’s causing your addiction is treated properly.
The Brain and Addiction
As the most complex organ in the body, the brain can be hard to understand, especially from a viewpoint of addiction. It works much like an intricate computer. The brain is made up of cells called neurons that are organized into circuits and networks. The neurons act as a type of switch that helps with the flow of information. When neurons receive signals from other neurons, it fires, and that sends out a new signal. Each of these circuits works together to achieve goals. Every function you complete requires these networks of neurons to work properly.
In order to send a message, the neurons release a neurotransmitter into the gap between the neuron spaces. This neurotransmitter attaches to receptors on the other neurons. When that happens, the receiving cell changes.
All of that’s critical to understand how addiction occurs. Drugs complicate the process. They change how the neurons send and receive messages and how they process the messages from neurotransmitters. In some cases, drugs activate the neurons because they have a structure that’s much like that of a neurotransmitter.
What Causes Addiction?
When these complex systems are interfered with, changes happen in several areas of the brain:
- Basal ganglia: In this area of the brain, which is essential for positive motivation, the drugs trigger the reward circuit. This area of the brain affects healthy activities and those that create pleasure. When drugs overact this area, they create a sense of high. When this happens numerous times, the reward circuit adapts to the drug. That means it’s hard to feel any pleasure without the drug.
- Extended amygdala: This area of the brain processes anxiety and unease. It is typically the place where withdrawal symptoms stem when the drug high fades. With drug use, this area becomes more sensitive.
- Prefrontal cortex: This area of the brain is responsible for planning, thinking, and solving problems. It is in this area of the brain that compulsive activity happens due to a reduction in impulse control.
You Can Gain Control and Improve the Function of the Brain
The brain and addiction may be complex, but there is help available. Researchers have developed a better understanding of the way the brain learns and changes. As a result, using therapy, medications, and the right supportive structure, it’s possible to get the brain back to working normally again.
This is best done in a treatment program like the one we offer at San Antonio Recovery Center. Here, you’ll work to overcome the challenges you face with withdrawal and cravings while also working to resolve the underlying cause of addiction. We do this through a number of programs, including:
- Men’s drug addiction rehab
- Women’s drug addiction rehab
- Intensive outpatient program
- Aftercare treatment program
- 90-day treatment programs
Let the Team at San Antonio Recovery Center Provide Help Today
It’s not always clear what the causes of addiction are. It may be more important to reach out for help now to get on the path to long-term recovery. That’s where we can help you. Call San Antonio Recovery Center now to learn more about the resources we offer and learn how you can access care that restores your well-being. Reach out to our affordable treatment center by calling 866.957.7885 or connect with us now online.