How does Substance Abuse change the way I make decisions?
Using substances changes the way we behave by affecting certain areas of our brains. The role of the prefrontal cortex is predominantly used for what scientists call “executive functioning.” Simply put, the prefrontal cortex is responsible for making decisions, predicting the consequences of your actions, working towards your goals, and exhibiting control over your life.
Studies using fMRIs have shown that alcohol suppresses the prefrontal cortex, which explains why a person’s ability under alcohol to make good judgment is impaired. Using substances has a similar effect on the prefrontal cortex as well. Marijuana and cocaine negatively affect things like your verbal fluency and working memory. Additionally, these drugs are said to affect your ability to reason. Some studies have even show that cocaine users can lose 5-11% of their brain’s gray matter.
Ultimately, things like attention span and impulsivity are affected with drug use. A lot of the negative effects of substance abuse can be linked to physical changes seen in the user’s brain. Whether it’s suppression of a certain brain region, or cells literally shrinking due to use, the brain often suffers from changes with drug use.
If you or a loved one is suffering from effects of drug abuse, please contact us today. We are a rehabilitation center in the South Bay with focused patient care on substance abuse and addiction. We’d love to get to know you. Contact us today before these negative consequences take over your life.