Using drugs changes the way the brain works. You know the brain is very important. It controls everything that goes on in the body, including breathing, thinking, and walking. When you choose to do drugs, you take a substance that gets in the way of the brain doing its job.
The Brain at a Glance
The largest part of the brain is called the cerebral cortex. About the size of a napkin, the cerebral cortex is a thin mantle of gray matter that covers the surface of each cerebral hemisphere. It is folded and crumpled, and it is made up of six layers of nerve cells and the pathways that connect them.
The cerebral cortex is responsible for processing memory, perception, and thought. It controls advanced motor functions, language, problem-solving, and social abilities. When the cerebral cortex functions properly, it takes care of hearing, seeing, sense of touch, and thinking.
The next part of the brain is the cerebellum. Found at the top of the brain stem where the spine meets the brain, it is made of two hemispheres. The cerebellum coordinates everyday movements, like brushing your teeth or riding a skateboard.
The brain stem controls basic functions, like breathing, digesting food, and maintaining your heartbeat. It is not only one of the most basic regions of the brain, but also the most vital to the body’s survival.
Next is the limbic system. Sometimes called the emotional brain, the limbic system is where emotions reside. Feelings of passion and fear are born here.
Scientists have identified what they call the “reward pathway,” which resides in the brain and includes the nucleus accumbens. Whenever we do something that is key to survival – like eating to satisfy our hunger – the reward pathway is roused. The nucleus accumbens has a lot to do with drugs because the most addictive ones stimulate the reward pathway, often more than natural rewards, like eating food we enjoy.
How Drugs Affect Your Brain
Everything our bodies come in contact with, from the things we inhale and swallow to the things that enter our bloodstream, affect the brain. When we do a drug, the substance we ingest or inject reaches the brain. Once there, it is similar in size and shape to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
Brain cells naturally absorb and release neurotransmitters. It’s how the brain sends and receives messages. Drugs disrupt the brain’s delicate communication system. Drugs can also effect your teeth, go to www.edentalperth.net.au for more info. From the very first time a person uses drugs, they risk causing damage to the brain’s ability to communicate. When damage occurs, anything and everything from your senses to your emotions to your ability to think and solve problems is at risk.
Prolonged drug use can lead to a permanent breakdown in the brain’s ability to communicate. Drug users can lose the ability to taste, see, hear, and even speak or think. In no time at all, they can lose the capacity to do their favorite things, like walk, run, and play. When friends offer drugs, the best thing you can do is say no, and you can learn how here.