How Opioids Disrupt Healthy Brain Functions

Adolescence and adulthood have many ups and downs, but each of us can agree that this critical period from birth to roughly 30 years of age is highly critical for internal development. Not only are you undergoing incredible chemical changes in your reproductive and musculoskeletal tissues, but you are also experiencing rapid neurological development, so imagine how much of a damper drugs can put on this highly efficient, yet extremely delicate, process. As it turns out, scientists at Emory University have confirmed how a developing brain can easily become susceptible to dependency early on. Let’s take a closer look at what the team uncovered.

Smaller Volume of Gray Matter

As part of the recent study, Dr. Michael Windle and his team of researchers assessed the brains of 110 African-American youths who are 25 years old, each of whom had taken part in Strong African American Families, a program designed to put a stop to childhood poverty. As part of this study, the young adults had explained how they had substance use problems from 11 to 21 years of age.

So what did the study prove? Remarkably, and tragically, the team found that exposure to alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes before the age of 19 led to a drop in gray matter density. For children ages 12 to 15, the amygdala activity had slowed down, while 16 to 18-year old drug users experienced a problem in the pars opercularis, a part of the frontal gyrus. Interestingly, Dr. Windle’s study has been the first experiment to uncover a link between drug problems and the impediment of the pars opercularis.

Not a Ton of Neurons

Obviously, a lack of gray matter indicates that a region of the brain lacks neurons, meaning children will have a major problem in shaping and predicting patterns of behavior. Overall, Dr. Windle and his team determined that this lack of gray matter volume could be a cause or an effect of these drug problems, if this impediment had already occurred prior to the child’s drug abuse, or if it took place due to exposure to drugs.

Seeking Treatment for Drug Addiction or Alcoholism    

Alcoholism or drug addiction are dangerous sicknesses that should never be taken lightly. All it takes to fall off the wagon and become sick is to take that first sniff, snort, injection, or shot before you are rolling downhill into insanity. Still, you can always push the train back up, but it will be a difficult hike. However, with the right mixture of perseverance and determination, you can easily get back on track and be happy once more.

Are you suffering from a severe case of alcoholism or drug addiction? Do you have a friend or a loved one who is coping with the same illness? In both cases, get in touch us at with Asana Recovery today. Our professional team of counselors and healthcare experts will help you endure the painful process of drug withdrawal and detox and guide you along the rocky road of rehabilitation. Soon enough, you will experience a faster and much more efficient recovery.

If you are seeking more information about our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs or enroll in one of these programs today, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your leisure and your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how you can overcome your mental illness and take an extra step toward becoming a healthier person.


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