Will I Ever Get Back to Normal? Undoing the Damage of Drug Abuse

Rehab Helps Thousands of Addicts Quit. It Can Help You, Too.

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.

cocaine addictSome 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.

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What Are Your Thoughts on this Topic?

  • Only Human

    Its terrible that children, teens and young adults are the most vulnerable demographic. I personally can say that my own life has been unalterably messed up because of taking drugs and drinking at young age.

    • the mistaked person

      i feel your struggle man

      • Beymar Daniel Lopez Vazquez

        I feel it dawg

        • kalyan reddy

          Surrender everything to God, all that stands in your way address it to Him daily, start engaging in a personal relationship with God and start your day with that consciousness!!! When the cravings hit if they do, it wont be as intense because you started your day by putting on your armor for protection, dont wait till it hits, prepare your day from the moment you wake up with living by spiritual principles

          • joe

            I don’t believe in your idea of god. You learnt this from books

  • Alan

    The sad reality is that nobody understands addiction … Until they’re addicted. More attention should be in high school . It can happen to anyone at any age .

  • Kevin

    Ive done rehab for 10months but until now i want to take some drugs again because of the discriminations of the people around me i just want to free myself and enjoy life

    • Martha Leslie

      I can understand that. I hope you stay clear awhile longer because each day you resist is a day your body heals more. It will take awhile for people to understand, but it will happen. Congrats on your 10 months–each day is hard work.

    • Paul

      You used drugs to escape, you done 10 months rehab, and now your a bit stressed and want to escape back to drugs, that’s pretty smart. Didn’t rehab teach you anything? I can see you relapsing again and again! Rehab done nothing for you. Decide never to do it again under no condition and replace it with something else and you will be fine. Your saying things like you wanna enjoy life, bro, 10 months for what? You still wanna enjoy life using drugs. Find happiness in life and enjoy it like 95% of society does. Nobody enjoyed a life of drugs, nobody! Addiction is sickness. Just don’t touch it because it takes equally. Man up, drink a cup of concrete and face life. Stop being weak and soft. Get therapy and best of luck!

      • Melody Cougot

        Under no circumstances is it ever ok to call an addict in recovery dumb! We may not agree or want to encourage their former behavior but try encouraging them to find different outlets…the simple fact that you have been 10 months sober is amazing! I know how hard it is and how tempting it can be to want to go back to the way things used to be….but I find fighting the urge with something productive gets your mind working in a much more pleasant way….i wish you all the luck and success on your journey and don’t let anyone take your amazing work away! God bless!

      • Tricks

        Well said with truth and conviction !

      • Robert Borror

        Well said Paul .

      • joe

        I agree, the way you spoke to him was not helpful. Infact it felt like to me that you were projecting aspects of yourself that you don’t like onto him. 10 months is amazing like the other poster said. Sometimes we do need a kick up the arse but callung people dumb is just going to trigger their feelings of shame, and shame is the cause of so many addictions. I hope he dudn’t read your comnent if im honest Paul and I hope he is well.

  • Jeff

    I feel better after a month of opiod cold turkey stopping but i was eating healthy flushing my system and running and lifting everyday so i only really had a few restless nights so the exercise must keep the brain from stopping production of dopamine. Idk

  • kalyan reddy

    Surrender everything to God, all that stands in your way address it to
    Him daily, start engaging in a personal relationship with God and start
    your day with that consciousness!!! When the cravings hit if they do, it
    wont be as intense because you started your day by putting on your
    armor for protection, don’t wait till it hits, prepare your day from the
    moment you wake up with living by spiritual principles

  • K

    Been clean for over 6 months now, I didn’t get back to a normal life… I got back to a better life than I have ever had, in a loving relationship, applying for a university soon and have a job. Don’t give up your life, give up the drugs, it will get better. Don’t run from your problems with the high, face your problems straight on.

  • Britany Johnson

    I have not used any drugs in over 3 years (I do drink on occation and sometimes take a hit of weed). Before that, I was consteantly high on cocaine as well as pain meds and weed, as well as heavy drinking almost every night with occational acid, shooms, and e. I quit cold turkey for my boyfriend when we started dating and now have a great life, and great job. However, I still feel on edge, or antsy, like I need something. It hardly ever use to get this bad until resently I also quit smoking (around 8 months ago also cold turkey). Now I get so anxious sometimes I feel like I could crawl out of my skin. I dont know that these urges ever will completely go away. It’s like, if I have a beer when I feel like this, I calm down for a bit, but then just want another and another until I’m drunk. Coffee also makes me feel like I’m on cocaine, and I dont like it but I still drink it sometimes when I feel like this because I don’t know what else to do.

    • kittygrl

      Let’s me first say to you POT is a drug. So sadly you’ve not been clean for 3 years.
      Get into treatment and start really living a healthy happy life. I wish you the very best and know you can do it.