An addiction is a chronic behavior that causes an individual to incessantly seek out a substance. Drug addiction is considered to be a brain disease that causes users to abuse dangerous substances without any regard for harmful consequences. Drug addiction is considered a brain disease because of its ability to alter the way the brain performs, and although a person might initially choose to take drugs, continued use can lead to addictive behaviors caused by structural changes in the brain.
Whether legal or illegal, consuming a drug causes chemicals to enter the brain and disrupt the way it usually performs. Various drugs affect the brain differently, but all of them target its reward system by impacting the amount of dopamine present. Typically, dopamine is released during pleasurable activities, but it can be also be released and manipulated when drugs are taken.
When dopamine is released, the chemical is rewarding the rest of the brain for participating in a pleasurable activity. If dopamine is released through drug use, then the brain will begin to desire the substance in order to maintain those same pleasurable feelings, causing addiction on a repeated basis. As an individual continues to abuse drugs, the brain responds by reducing the amount of dopamine it produces naturally, which leads users to increase their dosage in hopes of reaching the initial high.
Many drugs available today are commonly abused. They each have different effects on their users and can be classified within the following categories:
Depressants: These drugs include alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine, as well as some prescription medications. They are known to suppress activity in the central nervous system and can be used for anxiety and sleep disorders.
Stimulants: Drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA are stimulants that increase energy, focus, and alertness. They enhance certain chemicals in the brain (including dopamine) to produce euphoric feelings.
Hallucinogens: Acid, PCP, salvia and MDMA are all known hallucinogens that work to distort an individual’s sense of reality. Many hallucinogens are found in nature, but others can be man-made. They tend to cause users to experience noises, images and feelings that otherwise are not present.
Opiates: Typically prescribed as pain medications, opiates affect the areas of the brain that control pain and other emotions. OxyContin, Vicodin, and heroin are all drugs that relieve discomfort and create feelings of calm.
Regardless of the drug that is used, continued abuse can lead to permanent brain damage. Studies have shown that areas of the brain that impact critical thinking, decision-making, memory, and behavior control all become altered with long-term drug use. Although many of these effects are irreversible, there is evidence that certain brain functions can return when users enter detoxification and clinical treatment.
At Genesis Recovery, we use a comprehensive treatment approach to help you recover from drug abuse. We call our method the Spiritually Therapeutic Treatment Approach, which includes faith-based learning, clinical treatment, and the 12-step process, and it takes place in a sanctuary-like environment free from stimulation. Our goal is to provide treatment in a serious yet engaging manner so that residents can recover in the strongest way possible. Typically, residents will participate in spiritual activities that take place three times a day. Afterward, they attend individual therapy sessions and 12-step meetings. The rest of the day is left for recreational activities and other positive events that support recovery.
Our disciplined faith-based approach stems from the belief in a higher power and the influence God has on endurance and recovery. Through prayer, meditation, Bible study and weekly church services, our residents learn to accept the power of a spiritual presence.
We employ clinical recovery methods in tandem with our faith-based and 12-step activities, including group and individual therapy. Our Christian certified psychiatrists hold sessions with each of our residents and provide counseling for anger management, grief and loss, trauma and other topics.
The 12-step meetings typically take place off-site and involve engaging, recovery-related activities that encourage residents to continue a life of sobriety. Many times, other community members will join 12-step meetings to share their personal experiences with addiction in hopes of promoting a productive and drug-free existence.
No matter where you are in your stage of addiction, Genesis Recovery can provide individualized services that are designed to help you recover from drug abuse. Our licensed staff has the personal and professional experience necessary to work with you to create long-term sobriety, mend relationships, and learn the life skills needed to become a positive member of society. If you are ready to begin a life that is free from addiction, call us today.