Life Check
Life Check

Repetitive use of some particular types of substances develops a dependency or, as they call it, addiction. In most cases, the individual consumes the substance in order to “just try it.” as they start to feel relaxed and happy, they develop an addiction towards the substance.

If we look at the statistics, we will get to know the average number of people who are suffering from any type of substance abuse. The percentages are given below.

  • Alcohol: 6%.
  • Methamphetamine: 15%.
  • Cannabis: 10%.

A major part of the addiction patients actually want to come out of substance abuse, but it is not an easy task to do. That is why the individual needs the assistance of a substance abuse recovery treatment.

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The Effects Of Drugs In The Brain

We are writing this article to develop an overall understanding of why substance abuse or drug addiction is so hard to leave. Before digging into the main topic, we would like to tell you the story of how drugs and some substances affect the brain.

It does not matter how you are consuming it; alcohol or any type of drugs make their way to the brain through our bloodstreams. We all know the job of our brains. It is the communication center that passes messages back and forth for regulating what we feel, do, and think.

Some chemicals are responsible for sending all these messages. They are neurotransmitters. When it comes to drugs, they affect the functionality of our brains in various ways.

They either decrease or increase the level of neurotransmitters like serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine. All those addictive substances also affect how much neurotransmitter is going to stay active and also for how long.

At the same time, they are capable of binding with natural receptors in order to mimic and artificially activate the pathways of natural neurotransmitters.

Why Is It So Hard To Leave Drugs?

So, now you know how substances affect our brains. It is time to look at the main topic and find out the reasons why quitting drug addiction is so tough and painful.


As we have mentioned above, the neurotransmitter pathways are affected differently by each type of drug. In most cases, more than just one neurotransmitter gets affected. Most drugs leave an impact on the dopamine level.

Dopamine is the brain chemical that regulates feelings of pleasure, motivation, and emotion. Basically, it is the reward system of the brain. On the other hand, our brain ensures that we are repeating the same activity that is pleasant.

Whenever we do anything that is making us happy, the dopamine level increases. Most drugs increase the level of dopamine more than any other form of dopamine-activating activity.

So, when an individual takes drugs, the brain signals to do it repeatedly, and the person develops an addiction towards the substance. The lops go on, and it becomes difficult to quit using the substance.

Dopamine Depletion

Whenever a huge amount of dopamine is released, it becomes difficult to keep the production of dopamine in the brain, and it might temporarily run out of any dopamine. This is why after a day or two days of consuming the drugs, an individual feels depressed.

After a while, the brain again picks up the production of dopamine, and the mood returns to normal. When the dopamine stores keep depleting over and over again, the brain cannot cope and begin to shut down some of the structures which are responsible for moving dopamine around the brain.

Some of the major dopamine pathways go through the thinking part of our brains. It is called the prefrontal cortex.

When in that particular part of the brain, the dopamine system gets damaged, the problems of the individual experience in thinking through consequences, and become unable to make considerable decisions. In this scenario taking drugs becomes automated.

From chronic use, when dopamine is depleted, an individual can really feel flat for several months, although they have stopped using the particular substance. In this situation, the person wants to feel pleasure again and be motivated to use drugs.


Our brain always adapts to different environments, which is the result of drug introduction. When an individual is into drug abuse, their brains adjust to the increased level of dopamine, along with other neurochemicals, just by reducing the normal production.

Over time, some people who are into alcohol or drug abuse say that taking those substances actually makes them feel “normal.” It happens because their body and brain have already adapted to the effects of drugs.

This is called “tolerance,” and when a person develops tolerance, they will experience withdrawal when they try to quit taking drugs. When the drugs leave your system, your body starts to reach as it is not getting the substance for any longer.

These withdrawal symptoms can be both physical, mental, or emotional. Here are some of the major physical withdrawal symptoms.

  • Stomach upset. 
  • Appetite changes.
  • Nausea.
  • Feeling unwell.
  • Shaking.
  • Muscle aches.

Here are some of the major emotional withdrawal symptoms.

Both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms need to be treated. If they do not get proper medical attention, it can be life-threatening. Withdrawal symptoms are really hard to overcome, and in order to avoid them, people keep taking substances and drugs.

Apart from that, there are also some instances when the individual can not handle or tolerate the severe withdrawal symptoms and starts taking drugs in order to feel like they used to feel before.

It Is Possible To Change Drug Abuse

In the above discussion, we all get to know how much an individual is actually suffering due to substance abuse. Everything becomes worse when they decide to quit substance abuse. In this tough and challenging journey, all they need is our support and understanding.

They are already going through a lot, so let’s not make things harder for them. Understand their situation and treat them well. Remember, addiction is not a choice or “bad habit”. It is more of a disease.