The Neurobiology of Addiction

Our goal at ‘Detox At Home NY’ is to give you the promise of a new life – one free of drugs and full of a sense of well-being. What we do is to help you embark on the Road Of Recovery, a lifelong journey that will allow you to once again experience REAL joy – not a chemically induced euphoria.

So what happens inside the brain with drug use? Put simply, the drugs of abuse hijack systems already in place to regulate emotion. Dopamine, for example, is the “feel good” chemical. Our brains make dopamine and set up a reward system to encourage behaviors that are advantageous for the continuation of the species. Such behaviors include drinking water, eating food and engaging in sexual activity.

Hypothetically speaking, drinking water may release 1 unit of dopamine, eating may release 2 units and sex may release 4 units. The release of that dopamine results in a feeling of pleasure. Oxycodone and heroin hijack this system. Where sex might release 4 units of dopamine, oxycodone or heroin will release 40 units, resulting in a powerful but temporary euphoria.

With this understanding it is easy to see how drugs can take over one’s life. What interest does one have in normal activities if a pill can provide a euphoria that is 10 times as intense as the pleasure experienced from sex. Over time, the addict loses interest in food, drink, sex and just about anything else that once brought pleasure. The “new normal” becomes a drug or alcohol induced euphoria and nothing else can compare.

Of course, once he/she realizes this, he/she is caught in a vicious cycle – having to use drugs or drink alcohol simply to avoid withdrawal symptoms and severe depression. Over time, the risk of overdose becomes greater and the mortality rate climbs. This year in the U.S. we have lost more young people to addiction than to any other cause.

At ‘Detox At Home NY’ we are reaching out a helping hand to addicted individuals, to their families and their friends. The lucky ones find their way into treatment, either by realizing how much they need it in that lucid moment of insight, or through the interventions of those who love them.

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