THE CONNECTION BETWEEN ATHLETIC BRAIN INJURIES AND ADDICTION
- December 17, 2018
Overall, the fact of the matter is simple: substance abuse and addiction are severe problems for professional athletes. Despite the strength and power they exude during live events, these men and women suffer from endless bouts of pain and suffering due to countless injuries, so you can imagine that some of them would turn to a less than tasteful alternative simply out of desperation. From NFL players to pro-boxers and from gymnasts to powerlifters, these people, each of these people is exposed to a dangerous lineup of drugs ranging from prescription opioids and even alcohol. (Let’s also not forget the toxic plethora of anabolic steroids). However, did you know that there is a huge link between athletic brain injuries and addiction? Let’s take a closer look at this tragic fact of reality and find out some more information.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)
Initially labeled as dementia pugilistica, the illness called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a dangerous form of brain damage that is commonly found in athletes, particularly people who partake in contact and/or high-impact sports. Simply put, it occurs when a person receives multiple blows to the head, and the brain starts to deteriorate as a result. While commonly diagnosed in boxers, CTE also prevalent in football and hockey players (due to the rigorous close-contact during games).
Common symptoms of CTE include:
- Confusion or lack of awareness
- Severe headaches
- Poor judgement (or lack of)
- Impulsive behavior
Lack of Control Leads to Addiction
Ultimately, the key word to consider in this conversation is “lack of control.” According to Chris Nowinski (former Harvard football player and WWE wrestler), a multitude of athletes suffering from CTE will eventually turn to drugs and alcohol due to impulsive behavior and an urge to self-medicate their pain. Back in 2007, Nowinski founded the Sports Legacy Institute and partnered with the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (Boston University) to study the connection between brain trauma and high-impact sports. As part of these studies, Nowinski and research teams discovered that repeated blows to the head kickstart the deterioration of the frontal lobe, which (as you guessed) governs our ability to control impulsive behavior.
Always remember that alcohol and 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.