Endorphin’s and Addiction

Endorphins and Addiction

Endorphins are natural substances found in the human brain. The name originates from endogenous (within) and morphine (morphine which is a pain killer). Endorphins are one of the neurotransmitters in the brain. Levels of endorphins in the brain may be changed by taking a number of drugs including alcohol, anabolic steroids and heroin and other opiates.

Endorphins belong to a class of biochemicals commonly known as neurohormones that act by modifying the way in which nerve cells respond to transmitters, this modificiation is responsible for the insensitivity to pain that is experienced by individuals under conditions of great stress or shock. The effectiveness of analgesic opiate derivatives such as opium, morphine, and heroin is an accidental side effect that derives from the ability of these substances to bind to neurohormone receptors despite their very different structure.

In times of stress, endorphins are released into the system, this can sometimes be felt as an empty nervous feeling in the stomach sometimes described as butterflies, In addition to stress, endorphin secretion can be triggered by certain foods such as chocolate. The amount of endorphin released into the system varies with each individual with some events triggering a response in some people and not in others.

Drugs work because they affect the cells more than your own endorphins do; in response, your body adapts and tries to return things to normal by reducing the cells’ sensitivity to both the drugs and the natural endorphins. That’s how what is called tolerance to a particular drug develops.

The feeling you get when you stop is called withdrawal, and it may be responsible for most of your woes. Your digestive tract offers a good example of this process. Opiates slow the movement of material through the intestine, so it’s likely you suffered from constipation at first. Since you have been taking a painkiller for quite a while, your body has probably adapted to this retarding effect by speeding things up, leading to relatively normal bowel function even while you’re taking the drug. When you stop ingesting the drug, this speeding-up effect remains, but is no longer balanced by the slowing influence of the drug. The result: stomach cramps and diahorrhea. The other sensations you experience when you stop – chills, aches, flu-like symptoms and increased sensitivity to pain, arise because many parts of your body have reduced their sensitivity to your own endorphins. When you feel compelled to keep taking the drug to avoid the unpleasant effects of withdrawal, you are experiencing a physical dependence, which can happen even when you take the drugs as prescribed by a doctor.

Endorphins control emotions as well. The psychological model is “Glad, sad, and mad”, with fear as a sidebar. The average person is typically in glad mode. If duress downshifts them to sad or mad, endorphins are released for re-elevating them to glad. If fear strikes, endorphins similarly allow coping by providing a feeling of calm euphoria. Such a nice feeling, perhaps too nice of one. Your brain (the primal portion) maintains a certain quota of endorphins to ensure survival under duress.

In addition to chemical dependency or addiction a drug user will also suffer a psychological dependency the treatment for which may take an extended period of time. In-patient rehabilitation treatment offer the best chance of successful recovery. bit.ly/19m8V2M

 

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