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Alcohol, Drugs and Holidays

December 19th, 2008 · No Comments

Daniel Amen, MD is a physician, psychiatrist, author and a pioneer in brain imaging.

In his recent newsletter, he states that January is the busiest month in mental health treatment nationwide. For many, the holidays bring a lot of unpleasant memories, unrealized expectations and stress. It is easy to get into the comfort zone of overeating, isolating and abusing alcohol and drugs.

Unfortunately, the temporary relief provided by indulging wears off fast and leaves you feeling worse. And, the damage you do to your brain sets the stage for repeated failure.

As to brain scans, Dr Amen discovered that a healthy scan shows full, even, symmetrical activity. Drug and alcohol abuse tended to cause overall decreased activity in the brain. These brains looked more aged, more shriveled, and more toxic than the brains of people who did not use drugs.

Heroin and heroin-like drugs, called opiates, caused severe decreased activity, as did much alcohol. Methamphetamines and cocaine tended to cause what looked like multiple holes or mini-strokes in the brain. Marijuana caused decreased activity in the frontal and temporal lobe areas (areas involved with memory and motivation).

One of the most powerful lessons learned from imaging is that many people who abuse substances are really trying to change their own brain chemistry (self medication).

People with overactive brains, such as those with bipolar or manic-depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, certain forms of depression and obsessive compulsive disorder, tend to abuse substances that calm the brain down, such as marijuana, alcohol, or opiates.

People with under-active brains, such as those who have attention deficit disorder, tend to abuse stimulating drugs such as methamphetamine or cocaine. The drugs or alcohol make them feel better, so they continue to use, even though it has many other problems.

It is essential to treat the underlying problems in order for them to heal from the substance abuse.

Dr. Amen states that “if the brain works right, you work right”, so you must heal the brain first to totally overcome alcohol and drug abuse. More information about his clinic here >> Amen Clinics

This holiday season, be kind to your brain and don’t harm it with abuse of drugs and alcohol.

Having problems with drug and alcohol addiction?

Get your solution here >> Alternative Alcohol and Drug Abuse Recovery Program

Tags: Drugs and Brain Disorders

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