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How Addiction Affects the Brain?

Addiction can have significant effects on the brain’s structure and function. Substance abuse can alter the brain’s reward system, leading to a cycle of compulsive drug-seeking behaviors, and impair decision-making, impulse control, and judgment. When an individual uses a substance, it triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in reward and motivation. Repeated use of the substance can cause changes in the brain, leading to a tolerance to the substance’s effects, and a need for increasing amounts to achieve the same high. Over time, the brain’s natural reward system becomes hijacked by the substance, leading to a strong drive to seek and use the drug, even at the expense of one’s health and well-being.

Addiction can also lead to structural changes in the brain, including changes in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for decision-making, and the amygdala, which plays a role in emotional regulation. These changes can impair a person’s ability to regulate emotions and make sound decisions, leading to an increased risk of relapse.