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How Drug Detox Benefits the Mind

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Drug detoxification greatly benefits the mind and body. More specifically, discontinuing drug use benefits the brain in four main ways.

The brain will…

• become free of drug dependency
• begin to function normally again
• regain the ability to control the body’s behavior
• enjoy psychological benefits that become apparent over time

Drug Dependency & the Brain

In short, repeated exposure to drugs will alter the brain’s production of chemicals. The brain will compensate for over-stimulation of some neurotransmitters or amino acids by naturally producing less. Over time, the brain will lack the capacity to produce the proper amount of chemicals naturally and the user will be compelled to use even more of the drug just to feel normal. A great visualization is that your brain works like a spring and the more drugs you do, the more the spring is weighed down. When the weight is removed by discontinuing drug use, the brain bounces up and produces an adrenaline rush among other withdrawal symptoms. This prompts a desire for more drugs. This concept can be named the ‘GABA effect’.

What is GABA?

GABA is short for a specific amino acid in your brain which is responsible for calming and slowing down the mind and body. They act as the brain’s “brakes” and when they are not functioning properly the brain will continue to hit the accelerator increasing the speed of brain processes. Too much stimulation of excitatory neurotransmitters without the calming effect of GABA can cause:

• Restlessness
• Insomnia
• High blood pressure
• Rapid heartbeat
• Seizures
• Irritability

How do Drugs Effect GABA?

Some drugs such as alcohol and sedatives work to stimulate the calming GABA effect. Over time, it does reduce the number of GABA receptors being produced so not only does the user gain a tolerance for the drug, but the brain’s overall ability to calm itself is severely impaired. Too much of this calming effect will cause memory loss, difficulty concentrating, a lack of energy, and other problems.

This ‘GABA effect’ is simply the drugs altering the chemistry of your brain to be dependent on them in order to function. When the drugs are taken away, the mind will respond by demanding more creating a desperate cycle of dependence.

Returning to Normal Functioning

When the drug use and overstimulation of GABA stops, the brain will adjust and begin to produce a more appropriate level of GABA. Over time the mind will no longer demand, need, or even crave the drugs anymore.

Controlling the Body’s Behavior

Over time, drug addiction will impact all kinds of brain functioning including learning and memory, inhibition control, and the reward and motivation centers of the brain. Taking the drug will become compulsory and even sometimes necessary for the brain to function normally. The user can quickly lose control over their behavior due to the brain’s demand for the drug regardless of any consequences. By partaking in detoxification, the mind will again regain control.

Psychological Benefits

Almost half of drug addicts also suffer from some mental health condition either brought on or made worse by drug use. The mind’s return to normal will surprise you with several benefits including reduced anxiety and stress and a reduced sense of depression. Regaining that mind and body control could break you from that feeling of helpless.

Drug detoxification helps the body and mind in several different ways. Maybe most significant is the impact it has on breaking dependence, returning brain functioning back to normal, and allowing for self-control.

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