The German researchers discovered that even occasional users of amphetamines who later went into a cycle of increasing their use of drugs and eventually become addicts, showed structural changes in their brains following the introduction of the substances. Individuals who didn’t take up the drug did not show the changes in the brain’s structure.
The drug seemed to target regions of the brain that are responsible to executive functioning, as well as restraining impulse control and decision-making, as well as causing them to shrink. It’s like the drug was systematically hijacking the brain of the patient and programmed an auto-pilot set-up of an underlying behavior that was aimed at seeking another fix for the drug, like the missile that seeks heat.
The German researchers, headed by Benjamin Becker, CBD Registered Dietitian a doctor. Benjamin Becker, scanned the brain structures of 66 people who had occasionally took drugs in an effort to present the first evidence that shows how the volumes of front-street-limbic regions in the brain change over a two-year time.
In two separate studies they examined areas of the brain of the 66 participants, and later measured the volume of front-street-limbic structures. These brain regions directly impact the process of making decisions as well as impulsivity.
The participants in the study had similar socioeconomic status as well as neurocognitive abilities, as well as the previous history of experimentation with drugs. After undergoing an MRI of the brain, the researchers followed the participants for 12 months, and again after 24 months, to determine whether their use of the drug decreased, remained the same or increased.
When the researchers compared the brain scans of all the occasional drug users, they specifically found reduced “front-striato-limbic” brain volume in all the individuals who had started as occasional users but went on to increase their drug intake and became addicts over the two-year period.
The addicts appeared to be prone to a vulnerability which allowed drugs to reduce certain gray matter volumes. However, those who could make moderate use cbd products near me of the drug–or diminished their use in time — were not affected by these changes in the brain structure.
Changes in Fronto-Striato-Limbic Brain Volume Allow Amphetamines to Hijack Decision-Making in Some Users
The results of this study show that smaller brain volumes in the front-striato-limbic region are connected to impulsivity and decision-making which can sabotage a person’s brain and leave them vulnerable to addiction to amphetamine stimulants.
Perhaps, this blog will provide anyone who hasn’t yet used these substances the “healthy fear” about the potential for amphetamines to alter your brain. When your brain’s susceptible to changes in structure in the gray matter it is likely that recreational use could result in addiction. While this study does not examine the use of heroin or opioids as such, they could affect the brain in a similar manner.
To ensure better early intervention in addiction, researchers believe it is essential to identify specific biomarkers that can be used to detect people who are at risk of addiction to drugs. According to a news release Benjamin Becker said, “prospective longitudinal studies in occasional users are of great importance to determine biological vulnerability markers, which can help to identify individuals at greatest risk of developing an addiction.”
Becker concluded, “these findings indicate that individual differences in frontal-striato-limbic regions implicated in impulsivity and decision making could render individuals vulnerable for the transition from occasional to escalating stimulant use.”
Should you want to know more about this subject I suggest you check out the following Psychology Today blog posts:
- “One Billion People Share This Addiction. Are You Among Them?”
- “What Triggers Cravings?”
- “The Neuroscience of Making a Decision”
- “Why’s It So Hard to Quit Smoking? Neuroscience Has New Clues”
- “The Psychological Damage of Alcohol Abuse Can Be Lethal”
- “Why Do Drunk People Stumble, Fumble, and Slur Their Words?”
- “Hyperactive Dopamine Response Linked to Alcoholism”
- “Does Long-Term Cannabis Use Stifle Motivation?”
- “Heavy Marijuana Use Alters Teenage Brain Structure”
- “Why Are Cannabis Users Susceptible to Memory Distortortion?”