Of course there are drugs in my brain

Drug effect

  • Drugs work in the so-called reward center of the brain, the limbic system. Incoming information (everything we touch, see, hear or smell, for example) is evaluated there. This creates feelings such as joy, happiness, but also sadness, anger or anger. The limbic system serves original, species-preserving goals. Life or species-preserving experiences such as eating, drinking or sex are rated positively. You feel satisfied, relaxed and possibly happy when you are full. This positive experience is stored in the brain. A learning process has taken place. Positively rated experiences want to be repeated.
  • The more often an experience is experienced as happy, the more solid this cognitive / emotional connection is. Ultimately, the expectation of an event is enough (e.g. meeting a loved one, favorite food ...) to trigger the release of the body's own morphines (endorphins). The expected emotion also becomes the motivation to strive for the positive event.
  • If the reward center is stimulated, it releases various messenger substances (neurotransmitters). In the case of positive experiences and feelings of happiness, for example, dopamine is increasingly released as a messenger substance. Drugs like cocaine intervene artificially in this natural reward system, for example by causing the release of dopamine. With regular drug consumption there is then an excessive release of dopamine, so that the brain is overwhelmed with this messenger substance.
  • If a drug is consumed more frequently or regularly and the experience of its effect has been saved as positive (learned), one would like to recreate the effect again and again. The drug then exerts a great attraction. However, it is not the drug itself that has an attractive effect or leads to psychological or physical dependence, but rather the state of feeling or consciousness that is evoked by the drug. The stronger this attraction is and the faster the experience of action wants to be restored, the greater the dependency or addiction potential of a drug.
  • Frequent drug use changes the body's metabolic process. The brain reacts less and less to normal positive stimuli with the release of dopamine. On the other hand, it demands more and more drugs. There is an increase in tolerance. More and more drugs are needed to achieve the same effect. If the effect of the drug wears off, it comes to a negative experience, mental withdrawal (e.g. depression, anxiety). There is a pronounced craving for the drug (craving).
  • The change in the body's metabolism can progress to such an extent that the body needs the drug because it no longer works properly without the substance itself or the usual amount of the drug. If the body lacks the drug or if it is not available in the necessary quantity, withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, tremors, nausea or pain occur. In this case there is one physical (physical) addiction in front. The physical withdrawal symptoms can also be reduced by using drugs again.
  • The drug effect is anchored in the brain (learned). Various other stimuli related to the drug are also stored (e.g. locations, certain people, friends, smells, times of day). These stimuli are so closely linked (learned) with the drug effect that they are highly attractive (addiction memory).
  • Drugs differ, among other things, in whether they make you physically or psychologically dependent and / or how quickly they make you dependent (addictive potential). For example, due to the short intoxication effect (approx. 15 minutes), crack can make you psychologically very quickly and strongly dependent.

Why a drug is consumed and how it works depends primarily on three different factors and their mutual influence:

  • Of the substance yourself (type and concentration)
  • From the current state of mind of the personwho consumed the drug (e.g. state of mind, from drug experience, habituation)
  • From the current situationwhere drugs are consumed (e.g. alone, in a group, in front of the computer, at a party)