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The Science Behind Addiction: Can Indianapolis Rehab Help?

by Landmark Recovery

December 3, 2019

Substance abuse and addiction is a complex problem that can be difficult to solve. Luckily, national and local treatment centers such as Indianapolis rehab in place to help patients who are struggling with these issues.

Before learning about the different treatment methods and help that is available, it is important to understand addiction and how people are affected by addiction. Substance abuse is something that affects nearly the entire body and the way that it changes how the brain functions is one of the ways that it can lead to dependence and addiction.

Let’s take a look at what addiction actually is and how substance use can affect someone’s biological and neurological functioning and how addiction can become a cyclical problem.

What Is Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic disorder that is characterized by repeated misuse of substances and compulsive substance seeking behavior that continues despite the harmful consequences associated. Addiction is a complex issue that many do not fully understand. It is the most severe form of a substance used disorder that someone can suffer from and it is a medical illness.

Unfortunately, addiction and substance use disorder is something that has become more and more prevalent with the rise of the opioid crisis and overarching drug epidemic that has affected millions of people across the country.

Drugs And The Brain

The human brain is the most complicated and one of the most important organs in the body. It regulates the body’s basic functions and allows you to be able to interpret and respond to everything around you.

The brain consists of millions of neurons that are organized into circuits and networks which work to control the flow of information. Different brain circuits are responsible for coordinating and performing specific functions.

Unfortunately, when substances are used and abused, it can actually change the way the brain functions and lead to more problems. Let’s take a look at how specific brain areas are affected by the presence of drugs.

Basal Ganglia

The basal ganglia play an important part in the brain function and positive motivation including the feelings associated with healthy activities such as eating, socializing, and sex. It is also something that is involved in the formation of habits and routines. Essentially, the basal ganglia are something that is referred to as the brain’s “reward circuit.”

Unfortunately, when people use drugs, it can alter and interfere with the brain’s reward circuit. They over-activate this portion of the brain causing the euphoria and ecstasy associated with the drug high. And with repeated drug use, it can cause the reward circuit to adapt to the presence of the drug and reduce the sensitivity associated with it, make it harder to feel pleasure from anything else.


The amygdala is a portion of the brain that plays a roll in stress management, anxiety, irritability, and more. These are emotions that characterize withdrawal after the drug high fades and motivates the person to seek the drug again. This is something that can become increasingly sensitive with increased drug use and over time a person with a substance used disorder will use the drug to escape the withdrawal symptoms and get temporary relief rather than to get high.

Prefrontal Cortex

The prefrontal cortex is a part of the brain that is used to help with someone’s ability to think, plan, problem-solve, and is important in self-control. This is also one of the last parts of the brain to develop, making teens more vulnerable to the effects of drug use.

These are the main areas of the brain that are affected during substance abuse. However, other areas can be affected depending on the type of drug used. For instance, opioid use id something that can affect the brain stem which is something that controls basic functions such as heart rate, breathing, sleeping. This explains why people who use opioids and overdose tend to deal with breathing depression.

Addiction affects nearly the entire body, however, these brain regions are some of the most affected and it is important to learn what happens during addiction and how brain changes may contribute to continued use of a substance.

With all these problems that can occur when using substances, you may be wondering if addiction is even treatable.

Can Addiction Be Treated?

Addiction is a treatable disease and something that can be managed successfully. Research shows that using a combination of behavioral therapy and medication is the best way to ensure that most patients are successful. This is known as medication-assisted treatment. It should be noted that all treatment approaches should be tailored and made individualized for each specific patient according to their medical history, environment, genetics, drugs of abuse, and more.


When talking about addiction treatment, it is important to mention relapses and the role they play in recovery. Relapses are a common part of the recovery process and many people who achieve long-term sobriety relapse at one point.

Just because someone relapses doesn’t mean that their treatment has failed. Relapse rates are similar to those for other chronic medical illnesses such as hypertension and asthma. Relapse may be an indicator that treatment needs to be reinstated or adjusted or maybe that some type of alternate treatment is needed. No single treatment is right for everyone, there is no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all method. There is always room for adjustment or changes when it comes to treatment. If a patient relapses, it may be time to reevaluate their specific situation.

Indianapolis Rehab For Addiction

If you notice that you or your loved one has a serious substance abuse problem, you may want to find a treatment center that can help. Luckily, there are national and local recovery centers, that are in place to help patients.

Local rehab can provide patients with numerous benefits to help make the rehabilitation process easier. Obviously, if you go to a local rehab, you will have the opportunity to talk with family and friends more often than if you move to a different part of the country to do recovery.

Recovery centers, such as rehab facilities in Indianapolis can help patients with their respective problems and help them achieve long-term sobriety.

Overall when looking for a rehab, you want to be sure that the facilities that you are looking into can provide your loved one with the tools and knowledge that they need to stop their problem and commit to long-term change.

If you are looking for a reliable treatment center in the Indianapolis area, Landmark Recovery can help you.

Landmark Recovery has a dedicated staff in place who are fully committed to our patient’s sobriety and can provide your loved one with what they need to help them overcome their substance abuse problems.

Landmark is an organization that can offer you or your loved one the structure and information that they need. Landmark utilizes evidence-based treatment methods to help patients learn more about their disorder and understand what they need to do to overcome.

Along with evidence-based treatment methods such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, patients will also likely go through medically assisted detoxification program when they first enter inpatient rehab. Indiana is one location that can offer your loved one access to this type of care. Medically assisted detox is much safer than an at-home detox and will help patients overcome the harmful, dangerous withdrawal effects that are common with early sobriety.

Not only will Landmark help you when you first arrive, we will be there for you when you leave as well. Upon discharge from an inpatient facility, patients will have a plan in place to help them when they leave the treatment center. This normally consists of information regarding an outpatient program to help patients continue their care programs after they have the first month of recovery under their belt.

This is an extremely stressful time and patients will go through many invasive periods of cravings and urges that may lead to relapse. Luckily, if a patient has a support group and a treatment center that they continue to go to, it will help them stay on the road to recovery.

Next Steps

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please reach out to Landmark Recovery today. Our Indianapolis rehab is here to help all those who have been impacted by the disease of addiction. Please reach out if you think that you or your loved one may have a problem.

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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.