It’s amazing to listen to a talented pianist play a song by heart or watch dancers perform intricate steps in unison. This level of skill is the result of neural changes in the motor cortex of the brain caused by learned, repetitive behaviors. In other words, the brain is actually altered by physical behaviors and by thinking.
UNDERSTANDING ADDICTION AS A BRAIN DISORDER
There has long been a debate over whether addiction is a choice or a disease. As we learn more about addiction, we are discovering that it can be better described as a brain reorientation that creates unhealthy pathways that fuel addictive behaviors. With continued use, an addict’s brain adapts to these behaviors to further support the addiction.
USING NEUROPLASTICITY AS AN ADDICTION TREATMENT
With new skills, behaviors and thoughts, neural pathways are formed. As they are repeated, pathways grow stronger, and they become part of our being and weaved into our consciousness. When these pathways are not used, they weaken and lose their familiarity. This moldable or plastic characteristic of our brains is referred to as neuroplasticity or brain plasticity.
While neuroplasticity can perpetuate addictive behaviors, it can also offer tremendous potential for individuals to improve their minds through cognitive function and language. In addition, neuroplasticity provides opportunities to treat addiction by enabling individuals to use their own brains to sustain recovery.
The key to using neuroplasticity to treat addiction is in finding a way to stop the neural connections that are feeding addictive behaviors and developing new behaviors and thought processes to create new, more beneficial pathways.
INCORPORATING NEUROPLASTICITY INTO AN ADDICTION TREATMENT PLAN
One of the many benefits to choosing a professional addiction treatment plan over simply going “cold turkey”, other than for safety and comfort reasons, is gaining the help of a team of specialists who guide the establishment of new pathways through therapy and holistic treatments such as yoga and meditation. In recovery, the brain can be rewired to embrace healthy habits and avoid those that led to addiction. By becoming mindful of thoughts and decisions and learning about inner experiences, addicts have a better chance of sustaining recovery.
SEEK PERSONALIZED ADDICTION TREATMENT
Harness your brain’s power to heal and recovery. At Summit Behavioral Health, you will receive integrative, personalized care to help you achieve a lasting recovery. Our individualized treatment plans consist of cognitive behavioral therapy, holistic therapies, dual diagnosis treatment if applicable and much more.