Have you ever felt like your brain is working against you? Most likely, at some point in your life, you have experienced a moment where you felt helpless and just plain frustrated, like invisible strings were making you dwell on annoying thoughts. While this might just be part of another rainy, dreary day in February for most of us, a majority of people suffering from drug abuse and addiction continuously feel like their brain has completely taken over, leaving them helpless and alone. However, according to a 2016 study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), this sense of self-contradiction might actually play a huge role in the process of addictive behavior. How is this possible? Let’s take a closer look and see what the scientists discovered.
Testing Brain Laterality
As part of the study, Dr. Harold Gordon (a member of the NIDA Epidemiology Research Bank) drew from evidence proposing that impulsiveness and cravings (two primary factors behind addiction) might be reflected in the activities of the right and left brain hemispheres. Utilizing previously published reports on MRI studies, Dr. Gordon and his team exposed subjects to two different assessments:
- Go/no-go and stop-signal tests: focus on subjects’ impulse resistance (ability to prevent themselves from repeating learned responses that are inappropriate)
- Cue-induced cravings: focus on the strength of cravings in association with imagery related to drug images, texts, and additional triggers
During the test, Gordon also considered the effectiveness of laterality, the differences between peak activation levels among the two brain hemispheres.
So, ultimately, what did Dr. Gordon and his team discover? As part of the first study on impulsivity, participants chiefly exhibited “right laterality,” meaning they chiefly activated neurons in the right hemisphere when they attempted to put a damper on their impulses. On the other hand, craving responses to drug-related criteria were exhibited in “left laterality.” In other words, impulse control mostly took place in the right sides of the patients’ brains, while more neurons were activated in the left side of the brain when the patients fought cravings. Simply put, this inter-hemisphere differentiation results in a lack of impulse control and craving problems that are associated with addiction.
Seeking Treatment for Drug Abuse and Addiction
Always remember that drugs do not have control over your life. You do. Are you suffering from a substance use disorder or a severe form of addiction? Do you have a friend or family member suffering from one or more of these debilitating illnesses? If you do, get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our counselors and healthcare experts are ready to walk you through every step of the detox and withdrawal process and rehabilitation and guide you towards living a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle. While the road to recovery might not be an easy road to travel, we promise to help you every step of the way. Take the first step to stay fit, healthy, and safe.
The time for you to take back control of your life is now. If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your drug abuse or addiction troubles today.