woman in the throes of active addiction

How Addiction Affects the Mind, Body and Soul


Sober Recovery Expert Author

woman in the throes of active addiction

When addiction rears its ugly head, the mind, body, and soul suffer. These aspects of one's well-being are affected in various ways and can differ in each person. Identifying how addiction deteriorates each one of these areas will help you gauge how severe the addiction has gotten so that you can find the appropriate treatment.

Here's a break down of how addiction affects the mind, body, and soul.

When addiction rears its ugly head, the mind, body, and soul suffer.

1. The Mind

The mind is probably the first thing to be affected by the addiction disease. The choice to use is what drives the vehicle into the brick wall you end up at. Something in your brain, either conscience or sub-conscience, has delivered you to the doorstep of drug use and addiction. You were looking for some type of relief and you've found a temporary fix for the problem. Because drugs disrupt the normal transmission of signals from the brain on how information is sent, received and processed, you find yourself in a vicious cycle. First trying to assimilate the good feelings the drugs offer and then trying to balance the normal chemical activity of the brain.

However, once the drugs have infiltrated the brain and your chemistry is altered, the need for the drug intensifies. Your brain eventually stops making dopamine and endorphins (the natural feel-good chemicals) and sinks the levels of serotonin and melatonin (natural neurotransmitters) in the brain. Your decision-making abilityknowing right from wrong and acting accordinglyis changed. You may see acute symptoms of depression and anxiety set in that weren't there before, or at least not as pronounced. At this point, your mind is hooked. Heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and yes, marijuana, all affect the brain in this way.

2. The Body

Right in line with the mind being affected is the body. Likely happening at the same time, drugs affect one's appetite causing weight gain or loss. Your energy levels are also affected. Spurts of high energy, hours or even days without sleep leave you lethargic with aching muscles and sick to your stomach when you are without the drugs. Too much or too little sleep affects every system in your body and therefore your body learns to function the best way it can, which usually translates to functioning only when on the drugs. Your body will crave the drug in order not to hurt, not be violently ill, to sleep or to stay awake.

Opioids and alcohol have substantial and acute physical withdrawal such as vomiting, fever, chills, diarrhea, muscle cramping or aching and fatigue. Your body will react negatively to the withdrawal of any drug you abuse. The drugs have permeated your physical systems and your body now needs the drugs to function. Your body, along with your mind is now addicted. It can be very difficult to get out of this phase without a combination of determination and addiction help. Here's a list of rehab centers so you can call and inquire about how to move forward.

3. The Soul

At the point that your mind and body have been taken over by addiction, your soul will start to wain. The need to feel good in the mind and body will cause you to do whatever ever it takes to fulfill the need. You will start to separate yourself from people who care about you, surrounding yourself with those in the same boat. You will abuse and disrespect relationships and people who you never thought you would. You will remove yourself from any spiritual connection you may have once had in order to act on the things you know you shouldn't, just so you can provide for the special need your mind and body now have. In short, you will find yourself doing anything you can to get your fix. Your soul is no longer your own along with your mind and body as your addiction has come full circle.

Knowing how addiction consumes an addict is useful not only for a person walking the thin line to addiction but also for their loved ones. There's time before the soul falls victim to the disease and getting help before it happens is the key to cutting your losses. Recovering all three aspects requires substantially more effort along with the appropriate rehabilitation program, but there's never a shortage of hope and people ready to assist with recovery.

If you or someone you know is seeking help from addiction, please visit our directory of treatment centers or call 800-772-8219 to speak to a treatment specialist.

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