How Illicit Substances Affect Your Cognitive Functioning

A drug addiction can affect every aspect of a person’s life, from their financial responsibilities to the relationships they have with other people.

But many addicts never think about the harm they’re causing to their bodies by taking drugs excessively.

Addiction changes the way that the brain functions, which can dramatically affect cognitive thinking. So how exactly do illicit substances affect a person’s cognitive thinking?


How Drug Addiction Affects The Brain

The brain releases a chemical called dopamine that is triggered by the reward center of the brain; when you’re hungry and you eat, dopamine is released.

It is what makes you feel good. It’s the same thing with drugs, regardless of whether you’re taking opioids vs. benzodiazepines.

The problem is that the dopamine is released on a much larger scale. The brain becomes accustomed to producing these chemicals to the point that it becomes the normal state.

Without the presence of the drugs, the brain will start to go through withdrawal symptoms that can make a person feel incredibly ill.

These symptoms can be worse depending on the drug of choice, how long the person has been using, and how old the addict is.


Drug Addiction Affects Memory

In very extreme cases, addicts may become incapable of forming adequate memories of any kind.

Addiction first attacks short-term memory loss, as memory function is lost immediately after using drugs and during the period of being on drugs.

The longer the person uses drugs, then long-term memory loss can develop, where an addict cannot recall past memories that they once always had.


Drug Addiction Affecting Mental Health

Drug addiction and mental health are typically linked with each other; one is often a cause of the other.

For example, depression can lead to feelings of isolation, and the use of drugs can make a person feel happy, leading them to become slowly dependent on them over time.

Alternatively, a person can become addicted, which can leave them feeling isolated, and depression develops from there.

That’s why it’s important to seek professional help in these matters, as they can help you discover the root of your addiction and mental health so that they can both be treated properly.


Drug Addiction Affecting Motor Functioning

Subconsciously, you know how to do things like walking and moving your arm.

However, drug addiction can appear subconsciously and make it more difficult for you to do these simple motor functions. Intense drug use can damage the pathways to the brain, affecting motor functions as a result.

Even after an addict becomes sober, these motor functions may never be repaired.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction problem, then you should seek an addiction specialist to not only help you treat the addiction but also help you restore your cognitive functions as well.

There’s no reason a person should go through this problem alone, especially when their cognitive thinking is impaired and may not know how to look for help.

Don’t wait and take the first step now to getting the help that you deserve.