Almost all mind-altering drugs interact with the natural chemical balance in the brain, primarily interacting with your reward centers. When you take certain drugs, neurotransmitters that communicate pleasure are activated. The more you take the drugs, the less your body produces feel-good chemicals on its own, and you develop a chemical imbalance. Eventually, you end up chasing the high because you feel terrible when you’re not using the substance.
Chemical Imbalance From Different Drugs
Every substance affects your body’s chemistry differently. Most of them influence neurotransmitters, activating or suppressing them so that you feel less pain and more euphoria.
Ecstasy, Molly and cocaine increase serotonin. This chemical stabilizes your mood, increases feelings of pleasure, depresses your appetite and regulates your sleep and libido. However, after having a serotonin surge, your brain might end up depleted. After taking these drugs, you may feel more negative, moody and anxious than before.
Alcohol increases levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, resulting in a suppression of inhibitions. Paired with an upsurge in dopamine, the lowered GABA levels make people feel loose and euphoric.
However, some experts believe that alcohol’s influence on dopamine is related to cravings and relapse. Dopamine increases reward and motivation. If a taste of an alcoholic beverage causes dopamine levels to go up, your brain tells you to consume more of it to keep the pleasure going.
Opioids also cause brain chemicals to go haywire. These compounds bind to opioid receptors, which usually activate when you perform pleasurable activities, such as eating or having sex. Pain signals are blocked, and you feel good. Eventually, your body stops producing its own mood-enhancing chemicals, and you can’t feel pleasure without taking the drugs.
Chemical Imbalance and Pain
The imbalances caused by many drugs can cause you to feel more emotional distress and pain. Most people who struggle with addiction are physically dependent on certain chemicals. They don’t feel good when they abstain, and they need larger, more frequent doses to get high.
Although opioids block pain, your body responds by creating more receptors to enhance the pain signal. If you keep taking the medication, its effectiveness diminishes. The pain might end up feeling more intense just because you’re taking the medication. Some people who are prescribed painkillers for an injury or surgery recovery find that they continue to feel pain even after they have healed.
Treating Chronic Pain and Chemical Imbalance
Although drugs can cause some permanent changes in the brain, most chemical imbalances readjust after the drugs are eliminated from the system. This can take time, but professional treatment and emotional support can help you move toward wellness.
People who continue to feel physical pain or have another mental illness may feel like they’re up against enormous obstacles. If you’re dealing with other psychological conditions, dual diagnosis treatment can address your needs holistically. Those who have physical injuries can participate in treatments like pulsed electromagnetic field therapy to reduce the need for medical pain management. At Ardu Recovery Center, we devote attention to your spiritual, physical and mental needs to heal your whole body and mind.
We use a variety of approaches, including:
Your body’s natural chemistry can promote healing and enhance your wellness. Find out how our well-rounded approach to treatment can help you rise above addiction by contacting Ardu Recovery Center at 801-810-1234.