Addiction to drugs is known for their adverse health effects. After using drugs for a long time a person’s health become deteriorated leading to myriads of complications. The part of the body that is the most adversely affected is the brain. The brain and the entire nervous system are subjected to lots of damage after a long use of drugs of abuse. The brain works together with the neurotransmitters to pass messages in order to initiate certain responses but after along use of drugs of abuse the coordination between them becomes altered. Neurotransmitters are very crucial in the nervous system. They are the chemicals that transmit messages from one nerve cell to another. Nerve cells are known as neurons. The nerve impulse travels from the first nerve cell through the axon, a single smooth body arising from the nerve cell to the axon terminal and the synaptic knobs. Each synaptic knob communicates with a dendrite or cell body of another neuron, and the synaptic knobs contain neurovesicles that store and release neurotransmitters. The synapse lies between the synaptic knob and the next cell. For the impulse to continue traveling across the synapse to reach the next cell, the synaptic knobs release the neurotransmitter into that space, and the next nerve cell is stimulated to pick up the impulse and continue it. An interference with the neurotransmitters can adversely affect the flow of message within the nervous system. After prolonged use of drugs they interfere with the harmonious flow of information from the brain to the rest of the body maiming its normal functions. There are myriads of neurotransmitters that are affected by prolonged use of drugs of pleasure.
Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters that are highly targeted by drugs of pleasure. Due to the ‘high’ feelings it is associated with, some people have called it the ‘bliss neurotransmitter’. It is responsible for good feeling, the euphoric feelings that drug addicts seek from various drugs of abuse. Dopamine has great influence on well-being, alertness, learning, creativity, attention and concentration. Levels of dopamine should be optimal in the brain since when the level of dopamine is low it can leave us craving food, sex or stimulation. When the dopamine level is too high it can cause addictive behaviors. It has been observed that patients who are put on medications to boost dopamine level especially the Parkinson’s patient, they will form an addictive behavior like gambling when the levels of dopamine shoots beyond the optimal level. Dopamine boosts the feelings of pleasure but when the levels are too high it may result in Paranoia or a suspicious personality. Dopamine is also released when there is high stress. Therefore the level of dopamine should be regulated to ensure sound health. This is where the functions of inhibitory neurotransmitters set in, however with influence of drugs this coordination between excitatory neurotransmitters and inhibitory neurotransmitters is maimed.
Some drugs of pleasure contain nicotine which influences mood, cognition, and body function by binding to and activating nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) located on neurons in the brain. When activated by either nicotine or the endogenous neurotransmitter acetylcholine, the nAChR opens a channel that allows ions to pass through the neuron’s membrane from the exterior to the interior of the cell and trigger changes that activate the cell. When you take tobacco or other drug with nicotine the nicotine will have interactions with nAChRs and therefore any nicotine dependence treatment should focus on altering these interactions.
Nicotine produces rewarding effects by interacting with nAChRs on neurons in the brain’s mesolimbic reward system. This system comprises dopaminergic neurons that originate in the ventral tegmental area often shortened as VTA and release the neurotransmitter dopamine in regions involved in information processing, memory, and emotions, such as the nucleus accumbens (NAc), hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex (PFC). Increases in dopamine levels within the mesolimbic system give rise to rewarding effects. Nicotine directly enhances dopamine levels in the mesolimbic system by interacting with nAChRs on the dopaminergic neurons and causing them to release more of the neurotransmitter. Nicotine also modulates dopamine release indirectly by binding to nAChRs located on excitatory glutamatergic and inhibitory gamma aminobutyric acid (GABAergic) neurons in the ventral tegmental area. These glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons originate from a number of brain areas, such as the NAc, hippocampus, PFC, amygdala, ventral pallidum, and pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus, and regulate the activity of dopaminergic neurons.
As explained above the brain chemistry is adversely altered after prolonged use of drugs of abuse and these calls for restoration and regeneration of the brain during addiction treatment. Today researchers have found that adipose derived stem cells can be used in regenerating and restoring the neurotransmitters that are affected during drug addiction. The stem cells can be used to create healthy cells in situations where drugs have damaged cells. This can be done by taking healthy stem cells and transplanting them into the nervous system through an IV. Through this doctors can cause changes in brain and body chemical compositions that offer a key to healing problems such as alcoholism and drug addiction. The healthy stem cells are capable of changing the chemical composition of our brains and how the brain works. When healthy stem cells are transplanted into the damaged brain area. In the case of drugs; the area of the brain that controls impulses and chemical reactions to substances they begin to rebuild that area without the previous cellular dysfunction. This means that brain functions that facilitate addiction will be done with. Stem cells are the best remedy as they are new and have no mutations that therefore restore the affected areas to equilibrium and facilitating whole-body healing of the addict.
Here at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center we are committed to availing the best integrative approaches to treatment of diseases. We advocate for dietary as well as natural healing to diseases wherever possible. Visit as at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) will be of help.