When addiction is active, we tend to lose track of responsibilities, time, eating and sleeping patterns and so many other essential parts of daily life, because the brain has become hardwired to only focus on one thing: substance use. Sure, we may be able to get by with several months of work or carrying out family responsibilities for the most part, but let’s face it: addiction really does clutter what could otherwise be a healthily structured life.
As the National Institute of Health (NIH) explains, the prefrontal cortex is involved in all of our decision-making processes (such as with deciding what’s good or bad for us). Repeated drug use can significantly reduce activity in the prefrontal cortex, however – which means that while we normally may have decided to go home for the night so that we can get a good night’s sleep because we have to wake up early in the morning, we no longer have that capability to weight out the consequences – and that’s when addiction can really dampen important areas of our lives. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), stated in 2015,
“When the frontal cortex isn’t working properly, people can’t make the decision to stop taking the drug – even if they realize the price of taking the drug may be extremely high, and they might lose custody of their children or end up in jail. Nonetheless, they take it.”
It is for this reason that it’s much more than simply “quitting” drug use; rather, it often takes a significant intervention for a person to be able to move forward from something that essentially took over them. Harvard Health emphasized that recovery is based on an entirely new learning process – and it’s often done with various strategies, such as with medication assistance, 12-Step programs, individual and group therapy, self-care, structure in residential treatment programs and more.
If you’ve been struggling with addiction, seek the help you need today in order to get your life back on track. Don’t miss another minute.
Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.