How to Repair Your Brain After Drug Use: 5 Healing Methods

Until the rewiring process is complete, the person continues to struggle with relapses. Retraining the brain takes much more than stopping the regular use of a substance like heroin, cocaine, or marijuana. The brain itself becomes a tool to support the recovery by actively seeking new ways to find pleasure in non-addictive behaviors and creating new connections around the damage done by drug abuse.

How Does Your Brain Recover From Drug Abuse?

  • CBT aims to dig deeper than the surface, analyzing the underlying issues that may have contributed to or caused drug use.
  • The rewiring process teaches the brain to react differently to the same negative stimuli.
  • It is influenced by factors such as the type and severity of addiction, duration of substance use, overall health, and the effectiveness of treatment and support.
  • By combining both meditation and mindfulness, you’re teaching the brain how to better recognize harmful stimuli, filter out the bad things, and be more aware of your reactions to negative situations.
  • The brain rewiring process teaches the brain to interpret feelings of sadness as something that can be managed by speaking to a loved one or a therapist.

By reinforcing positive behaviors and teaching skills to navigate triggers, therapy helps rewire the brain to respond differently to potential relapse situations. During recovery, the brain develops new, healthier habits to replace addictive behaviors. By consistently engaging in positive activities, such as exercise, therapy, and hobbies, the brain rewires itself to prioritize these healthier habits. Framing these practices — medication, physical activity and sleep — as ways to improve brain health empowers patients to have personal agency in their recovery. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a type of talk therapy that helps the person identify and improve damaging behaviors or thought processes. CBT aims to dig deeper than the surface, analyzing the underlying issues that may have contributed to or caused drug use.

The Road To Recovery: Healing The Brain After Antipsychotic Use

However, since exercise impacts the brain and body in many different ways, it wasn’t clear whether the effect of exercise was due to hippocampal circuit rewiring by neurogenesis, or other factors. The researchers therefore used two different genetic approaches to assess the impact of newborn neuron integration into the hippocampus, exclusively. Opioid use disorder (OUD) is defined as a problematic pattern of opioid use that causes significant impairment or distress.

how to repair your brain after drug use

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Inpatient rehabilitation at a full-time facility provides a supportive environment to help people recover without distractions or temptations. Lyle Murphy is the founder of the Alternative to Meds Center, a licensed residential program that helps people overcome dependence on psychiatric medication and addiction issues using holistic and psychotherapeutic methods. We continue to learn more about the addictive properties of drugs every day.

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how to repair your brain after drug use

Analogous to physical therapy exercises after physical injury, cognitive exercises can help to retrain mental ‘muscles’ and facilitate improvement of function. However, cognitive retraining is a relatively new area of research and few studies have investigated its potential benefits in opioid use disorder patients. To address this gap in the literature, the current study assessed the effects of working memory training on cognitive ability and recovery outcomes in individuals undergoing methadone treatment.

When to Consult a Medical Professional

However, each person’s healing journey is unique, and it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance and support. One study published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin explored the long-term effects of antipsychotic drugs on brain structure. The researchers found that individuals who had been taking antipsychotic medication for an extended period of time had reductions in brain volume compared to healthy controls. These reductions were primarily seen in the frontal and temporal lobes, which are areas of the brain involved in cognition and emotion regulation. Importantly, the study also found that these reductions were partially reversible after discontinuation of the medication, but the recovery was not complete.

The role of professional support from addiction specialists and medical professionals cannot be overstated. They provide continuous evaluation and modify treatment plans to address the unique needs of each person effectively. Integrated treatment programs combine medical treatment with counseling and support services, aiming to treat addiction and co-occurring mental health issues comprehensively. Therapy equips signs of drug use individuals with practical coping skills and tools to manage stress, cravings, and triggers. These skills, such as problem-solving, stress management techniques, and healthy communication strategies, assist in rewiring the brain’s response patterns to stressful or triggering situations. Many individuals with addiction have underlying psychological or emotional issues that contribute to their substance abuse.

how to repair your brain after drug use

Addiction affects the brain’s ability to regulate emotions, leading to mood swings and emotional instability. In recovery, the brain begins to regain its ability to regulate emotions more effectively. This leads to improved emotional well-being and a greater capacity to cope with stress and challenges. During his days as a medical resident, he said, he’d often stay awake for 36 hours straight. During this time, the patient’s brain healed, Dr. Fong said, particularly in the realms of sleep, self-control and “frontal lobe functioning,” responsible for managing thoughts, emotions and judgment. Dr. Fong shared the story of a patient seeking treatment for disordered use of alcohol and benzodiazepines, as well as anxiety and depression.

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