The brain is the most complex organ in the human body. It is made up of billions of neurons (nerve cells) that communicate with each other using electrical and chemical signals. Chemical substances like those in drugs and alcohol significantly disrupt chemical signaling in the brain and therefore create profound changes in brain metabolism.
Scientists use positron emission tomography (Pet) scans to observe how the brain is affected by common substances like cocaine, alcohol, amphetamines (speed), etc. These studies show that the brain is affected long after exposure to the substance stopped. Scientist are still unsure whether the brain fully recover and if some regions of the brain are permanently affected.
In severe cases of long term drug abuse, acquired brain injury (ABI) occurs that result in impaired judgment, lack of self-control, the inability to regulate emotions, and lack of motivation, memory or learning function.
Relying on drugs and alcohol to cope in life ends up exacerbating the individual’s problems, because the disruption in the brain makes it harder to cope with social situations and the normal pressures of life.
The brain’s reward circuits (the dopamine system) get damaged by overstimulation from substances and start to produce less dopamine (down regulate). It is important to understand that when you stop using you need to expect a sort of waiting phase where your brain adapts to up regulating dopamine again.
At The Exclusive we find it is important to educate our clients on the effects that substances might have had on the brain. We want you to understand the importance of participating in strategies to heal your brain in the long term.
It takes about 4-6 months of complete sobriety for the brain to heal. A comprehensive long-term treatment approach is imperative to get you back to an optimal state.
Nutritional supplementation is very helpful especially in the start of recovery when biochemical imbalances are at their highest. At The Exclusive we address and correct biochemical imbalances through nutrition and nutritional supplementation.
In our holistic approach we integrate addressing the psychological issues of substance abuse together with correcting biochemical imbalances, because both these areas are contributing to the problem.
Our integrative drug treatment incorporates individualized supplement regimen designed to help restore amino acids that fuel neurotransmitters in the brain. Our doctors will provide you with a plan and coach you on methods to continue after leaving the program.
Brain Gym is a series of physical movement exercises that help to improve memory in the brain and can assist in healing brain injury. These exercises occur in a group setting and involve 26 core Brain Gym activities where clients acquire techniques for movement-based learning.
Quality sleep every night is strongly encouraged in our program. Our brains are powered by sleep. Sleep is essential to help the brain heal and integrate what it’s learning during the day. It is also during sleep that the brain detoxifies through the glymphatic system which is run by the glial cells in the brain. The glymphatic system is 10x more active while we’re sleeping. Memory loss is tied to the brain’s inability to detoxify itself.
Participants in our program often report that they become relaxed, sleep better, notice improved memory as well as an increasing sense of presence, self-awareness and self control.
A great resource to educate yourself on drug addiction, neurobiology and the brain is the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Explore their education packages to study this topic in detail (https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/).