Brain-based therapy is new in the world of medicine. It is used in a variety of ways. The concept is simple but also complex. People need treatment for their brains. While most experts agree that addiction is complex and cannot be reduced to a single theory or treated singularly, more is needed to know whether a person can benefit from brain-based therapy in addiction treatment.
Treating the Brain
Therapy and treatment based on the brain is pretty much what it sounds like. It means treating a person with the brain as the main focus. Brain-based research and therapy originated with research scientists. Over the last several decades, neuroscientists have come leaps and bounds in understanding the brain and its role in diseases and ailments. The brain is full of millions of nerve cells called neurons. It is what keeps people alive and functioning. Many different things like stress and genetics also play a role. Brain-based treatment attempt to correct malfunctions to treat disease, mental health, and addiction.
Addiction and the Brain
Brain-based therapy is a promising approach for addiction treatment. Addiction is all about the brain. Being addicted to substances has a profound impact on the brain. Using substances can alter neurotransmitters in the brain. Our brains contain pathways between neurons and substance abuse impacts the one focused on reward. The neurotransmitter, dopamine, is released from certain neutrons and transmitted to others. This pathway contains backup methods for keeping pleasure sensations from getting out of control. With drug use over time, this pathway is permanently altered and other person using drugs needs to take more to feel the same impact.
Genetics are also a concern. Genes have been found in DNA of people with addiction that indicates a susceptibility for people. These genes vary and may involve the brain and how it responds to substances.
Professionals who advocate for brain-based approaches to addiction treatment do not think therapy, support groups, counseling, and twelve-step programs have a place in the process. The physical and chemical aspects of the brain must be considered when developing a plan. It would be wrong not to include this evidence that comes from research when it comes to healing and recovery.
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