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Everything we do in life is controlled by our brain. Walking, talking, eating and even breathing are just some of the activities that we take for granted but may not be able to do as well if something stops our brain from working as it should. The brain also helps us to understand what is going on around us and to feel emotions such as love and happiness.

Some of these emotions often seem to be heightened when people first start to take drugs. However, experimenting with drugs can all too easily lead to addiction which can in turn cause damage to the brain, having a detrimental effect on emotions and the body’s ability to perform as it should. It’s important to seek help from experts such as for anyone who is experiencing problems with drugs. The sooner help is provided, the more likely it is that the person can start to recover and that the risk of damage to the brain can be reduced.

What effect do drugs have on the brain?

Drugs affect the function of the brain by interfering with its communication system. The chemical structure of drugs such as heroin and marijuana is quite similar to the chemical structure of neurotransmitters which enable the neurons in the brain to communicate with each other. This means that the drugs are able to activate neurons but they do so in a different way to neurotransmitters and messages are not as they should be. Drugs like cocaine have a slightly different effect. They cause disruption in the way neurotransmitters are released, leading to increased amplification of messages.

Why do people want to continue taking drugs?

The effects that drugs have on the brain tend to affect the reward system. This system is intended to provide a reward for natural activities in life, by releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine which helps to make us feel good. When drugs are taken, higher levels of dopamine are released and a euphoric high is experienced. The high that is experienced in taking drugs is much greater than the feeling that is created by a natural release of dopamine as the levels are always a lot higher. It’s a natural human instinct to want to repeat the process.

What effect do drugs have on the brain long term?

The brain needs to shut out the amplification caused by the release of excess dopamine every time drugs are taken. It does so by cutting down on the amount of dopamine that is produced or the number of receptors available. This, in turn, makes it harder for people who take drugs on a long-term basis to feel any sort of pleasure at all. They take more drugs in search of the high which only makes matters worse. Drug abusers end up feeling withdrawn, anxious and depressed and stuck in the cycle of taking increased amounts of drugs to try and feel euphoric again.

If people do not get help with the problem and deal with their drug abuse, the brain can become further damaged, with memory and cognitive function being adversely affected. This is why it’s important that drug abusers, relatives or friends, seek help as soon as possible.