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Will I Ever Get Back to Normal? Undoing the Damage of Drug Abuse
Those who have taken drugs will eventually ask themselves a question.
“Will I ever feel normal again?” There are many factors that will determine the rate at which your body heals, so you should make sure to understand that before you get frustrated with your healing. It took time to cause the damage, and it will take time to reverse it as well.
First, think about the factors that will determine how long it will be before you feel normal. They could include:
- The length of time you took the drug
- The type of drug you were on
- The method of detox you completed
- Your ability to go to therapy and/or group meetings
- The amount of drugs you took
These five factors will actually be very important to your ability to heal and to how long it will take to feel better.
The brain is constantly changing. The drug that you took will affect it by changing the neurons in the reward sector, which will make you feel good every time you take the drug. The result of this change is more release of dopamine, and this will give you a rush of good feelings. The change in your feelings will last a short time, but the actual change to the brain will last longer.
Your ability to stop cravings is also altered when this occurs. Now, when the body sees the drug or needs it, you will face more serious cravings for it. The amygdala, a part of the brain, has been altered, and it will trigger an urge for the drug when it wants it.
When a person takes marijuana, for example, THC enters the brain and acts on certain areas. This will affect the reward sector, as well as other parts of the brain that control balance, coordination, memory, and judgment.
Over time, the effects of a drug like this can be profound, leading to the death of brain cells. That means that the symptoms you’re facing during a high can become more permanent, and you might have trouble with memory function or coordination even when you aren’t high.
MDMA or Ecstasy, is a drug that dramatically changes the brain from the very first time you take it. It alters the ability of neurons to transport serotonin, which is vital to many functions of the brain. When you take this drug, serotonin is unable to be transported as effectively, and in the long run, this can lead to problems with memory and learning. Some studies suggest that the brain does not completely heal from MDMA use even after 18 months of being clean.
Other studies show that the healing begins around two weeks after being clean, and scans will look similar to a control group at about 18 months, even though the neurons may act differently than before. So, after just a single use, you’re looking at over 18 months of healing before you’ll be 100-percent better. That’s a long time for a hit that won’t last through the evening.
Cocaine is a serious drug that you may not heal completely from, according to current scientific information. In a study, the high of cocaine wore off in 30 minutes, and it resulted in a changed brain that affected the individual’s ability to feel pleasure, pain, and more. Ten days later, the brain was still changed and was unable to manage glucose as it should, which essentially means the brain was not “eating” like it should. Approximately 100 days later, the brain was still not functioning like before the drug use. Three months later, the scientists doing the study started to debate if the changes had altered the brain in a way that was unable to be healed. That was all from just one hit.
Some of the healing process has to do with the food you eat, how much water you drink, how much you exercise, and your immune system. Doing what you can to boost your overall health will help. Psychologically, you will do better if you head to group meetings and therapists, since there you will find others who will be able to help you get through the worst of the detoxing and rehabilitation process.