General, Research, Technology

How do drugs destroy the brain?

Despite the fact that in most countries of the worlddrug use is prohibited, this does not mean that people do not take them. Moreover, the two most dangerous drugs - alcohol and tobacco can be safely purchased in almost any country. However, today it is no secret to anyone that drugs are addictive. Partly for this reason, they are illegal. But what effect do different chemical compounds have on the most complex organ of the human body?

It is actually very difficult to overcome a bad habit, since any substance causing the addiction changes the brain

Reward reward systems

From the moment the drug first gets intobrain, important changes occur in its chemistry and structure. The pursuit of pleasure is one of the strongest instincts of Homo Sapiens. When we do something pleasant, the brain strengthens our connections to find out what needs to be done to enjoy it again. These connections, called the reward system, extend from the brain stem through the limbic (or emotional system) to the frontal cortex. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that the brain uses to transmit information and connect some neurons to others. The neurotransmitter dopamine is mainly involved in the reward system. Drugs alter the chemical functioning of the brain, giving it much more dopamine than it normally produces.

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This is fraught with the following consequences:

The brain is trying to adapt to excessstimulation with dopamine, which is able to destroy neurons, reducing the number of dopamine receptors. This leads to tolerance or the need to increase the dose of the received narcotic substance each time: the brain will need more and more drugs in order to achieve the same effect as the first time. But more important are the consequences in behavior: actions that were once pleasant will gradually cease to be fun, becoming uninteresting and not motivating. Only drugs can fill the void. As the brain adjusts to the presence of the drug, other neural connections in the brain will also be affected and undergo changes. The first and most closely related to the reward system is our ability to memorize information and learn new skills. It is these neural connections that are responsible for the formation of habits and addictions.

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Drug use, including alcohol during adolescence, jeopardizes normal brain development

In the future, everything related to obtaining anddrug use will be strongly perceived by the brain as an automatic, unconscious and compulsive action. This behavior can last for many years. In addition, changes will gradually occur in areas of the brain whose work is necessary for reasoning, decision making and behavior control. The consequences of changes in the frontal lobe are especially negative for adolescents in whom these parts of the brain are actively developing. Therefore, the use of drugs at a young age interferes with the normal development of the body.