Have you ever heard someone say that those who are taking drugs merely lack will power to stop taking them? Nothing could be further from the truth. Will power really isn’t part of the equation. This is because drugs affects how the brain functions and will power can’t control the changes in the brain.
Drugs affect the ‘reward’ section of the brain. This area of the brain controls emotion, the body’s ability to feel pleasure, motivation, and the body’s ability to move. The reward section of the brain produces dopamine, which creates those pleasurable feelings.
Almost all drugs have dopamine in them. When someone uses drugs, they flood their system and their brain with an excessive amount of dopamine. That ‘high’ feeling and the feeling of euphoria that drug users get are from all of the pleasurable feelings from so much dopamine in their system.
When a person continues using drugs, the brain gets the signal to produce less dopamine. The brain also sends out signals to reduce the amount of dopamine receptors in the body’s ‘reward’ system. The result of this is that effect of dopamine on the body’s reward system is lessened. This means the drug abuser’s ability to get the same effect from drugs is lessened. A drug user has to keep using drugs to keep his dopamine level to a level that the body would normally produce. And, when he wants to get that euphoric high, the drug user has to increase the amount of drugs he takes.
Drugs affect more than just the body’s level of dopamine and the ability to produce it. It also affects a brain’s ability to concentrate and to learn. It affect’s a person’s judgment and his ability to make decisions.
So you can see how drugs change and alter the brain. A person might have lots of will power to stop taking drugs. But rehabilitation will take more than just will power because the brain’s ability to function properly has been affected.