How Is The Brain Able To Repair Itself After Drug Use
The brain is fragile but durable. Even after being damaged by drugs, your brain is able to repair itself in a number of ways, which can include:
- Neuroplasticity. In simple terms, neuroplasticity is the process that allows your brain to continue to function even when cell damage disrupts neural pathways. You can think of plasticity as the miraculous process that allows you to learn to write with your left hand after your right hand gets injured.
- Brain cell regeneration. Brain cells can recreate themselves. Over time, any cells that you damage due to drug use will eventually regenerate.
- . Brain functionality happens in different areas of the brain. In other words, even if drugs damage the original center of memory, cognitive function, and sensory perception, you can use other brain areas to remember, think logically, and sharpen your senses. In order to make this work, though, youll have to keep your brain and body drug-free.
Bonus: Consider Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
For additional support, consider hyperbaric oxygen therapy. It has been shown to raise tissue oxygen levels, encourage new blood vessel growth, increase your bodys defense system, reduce swelling, increase stem cells, and support optimal health.
Brain regeneration can be enhanced with the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on a regular basis. To learn more about hyperbaric oxygen therapy, I recommend reading this article.
Whats Going On In A Traumatized Brain
Traumatized brains look different from non-traumatized brains in three predictable ways:
What these activations indicate is that, often, a traumatized brain is “bottom-heavy,” meaning that activations of lower, more primitive areas, including the fear center, are high, while higher areas of the brain are underactivated. In other words, if you are traumatized, you may experience chronic stress, vigilance, fear, and irritation. You may also have a hard time feeling safe, calming down, or sleeping. These symptoms are all the result of a hyperactive amygdala.
At the same time, individuals who are traumatized may notice difficulties with concentration and attention, and often report they cant think clearly. This, not surprisingly, is due to the thinking center being underactivated.
Finally, survivors of trauma will sometimes complain that they feel incapable of managing their emotions. For example, if someone spooks them as a prank, they may experience a rapid heart rate long after the joke is up, or may have a hard time just letting go of minor annoyances. Even when they want to calm down and feel better, they just cant. This is in large part due to a weakened emotion regulation center.
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Foods To Avoid During Brain Injury Recovery
Now that weve covered some of the best foods for brain injury, its time to look at some of the foods you should avoid during recovery.
In general, you should avoid foods containing saturated fat and processed sugar. These foods can hamper BDNF and neuroplasticity, the very things you want to promote in a good head injury diet.
Some foods high in saturated fat and sugar include:
- Dairy products
- Fatty meat cuts such as ribeye steak or lamb chops
- Processed meat
- Sugary drinks
Its important to note that this isnt an absolute prohibition because some of these foods have important health benefits. The key is to eat these foods sparingly if you want to improve your brains function.
How Does Trauma Affect The Brain
When we experience a traumatic event, our brain chemistry and functioning changes in response to the emotional and physical consequences of that event.
Traumatic events include a wide range of experiences, including:
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Death of a loved one
- Financial, professional, or personal loss
There is no standard definition of a traumatic experience for everyone, and each of these experiences takes a unique toll on us as individuals. While all of us experience traumatic stress in different ways, our brains process stress in mostly predictable patterns. In general, there are three major areas of our brain that are shaped by stressful experiences. These are:
- The hippocampus, which helps control memory, learning, and interpretation of information. This area of the brain may become less active under stress and, in fact, may actually shrink. This shrinkage reduces the amount of information and memories we can effectively process at one time. In addition, a smaller and less active hippocampus means we are less likely to be able to process any new information when we are experiencing traumatic stress.
- The amygdala, which helps us process our emotions. During periods of intense stress, the amygdalas role in the brain is to serve as an alarm system, alerting the rest of the brain to potential risk. While this is useful in life-or-death situations, the amygdala can be triggered by traumatic stress, too, causing the brain to enter fight-or-flight mode over and over again.
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Gut Infections And Dysbiosis
Have you ever experienced stomach problems before an important event, public speaking, or a new date? The connection between our brain and our gut is clear. However, our gut and brain not only affect each other short-term during stressful or exciting events. The communication between the two is on-going, long-term, and intimate.
Gut dysbiosis and gut infections can increase inflammation in the gut and the entire body. Chronic inflammation affects your entire body, not just your brain. Gut microbiome imbalance to mood cognition, and mental health. Digestive problems, gut dysbiosis, and gut infections may increase your risk and symptoms of brain fog, memory problems, learning difficulties, anxiety, depression, and neurodegenerative diseases .
Making Decisions About Medical Care
As early as 24 hours after your loved ones injury, the health care team may begin talking about the choices you must face about the next phase of care for your loved one. These choices may involve different options for rehabilitation, transitional care, a skilled nursing facility, or possibly home care.
While these decisions may feel rushed to you, experts know that early treatment can maximize recovery and minimize long-term problems.
Brain injury rehabilitation can begin before or after your loved one fully emerges from a coma. Your health care team can help you make these decisions. Some guidelines for making your decision are on page Where Will the Journey Go From Here?.
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If Symptoms Last Longer Than A Week
While the symptoms of most uncomplicated concussions resolve after one to two weeks, a small proportion of people have persistent symptoms leading to a condition called Post Concussion Syndrome . Symptoms of PCS can vary for each person depending on the type and severity of the injury. Common symptoms include headaches, seizures, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, nausea, neck pain, jaw pain, depression, anxiety, and personality changes. The reasons and risk factors that cause certain people to progress to PCS are not quite clear, but experts now believe that multiple brain injuries, poor brain blood flow, cervical spine damage, and underlying brain stress are contributing factors. The research does clearly show that chronic inflammation and mitochondrial damage are key drivers of PCS.
Its also important to consider the supportive structures around the brain and in the neck as well. Every brain trauma causes severe stretching and damage to muscles and ligaments of the neck, face, and upper back which can refer pain to the head causing a variety of symptoms that appear to be from a damaged brain.
Final Thoughts On Brain Regeneration
Your brain health is essential for memory, learning, mental sharpness, mood, and mental health. The good news is that your brain is able to regenerate and create new cells throughout your life.
Brain regeneration is a powerful topic that should empower us to live at a higher level. Follow my 12 tips to heal your brain cells and support your brain health naturally. For more info on how to activate your bodys innate healing ability, check out my free Brain Regeneration Guide.
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Protect Your Brain From Stress
Stress Takes a Toll on the Brain. It affects memory, causes inflammation, and disrupts other critical brain functions. This is why stress is associated with numerous health conditions and is a risk factor for Alzheimers disease and dementia. While recovery can be stressful, its incredibly important that you have ways to cope with stress.
Brain Power: 6 Ways To Heal Yourself With Your Mind
Fromthe beginning of time, man has always felt the connection between the mind,body, and soul. But todays science and innovation provides us the research andevidence necessary to prove how much the brain can truly affect your health.And since healing is a job that is best done from the inside out, its easy tosee why the mind can help provide us the power we need to heal our spirits andbodies. Every person has been given the tools to restore harmony, balance, andgood health in their own bodies- through the healing force of your mind. Theonly thing left to do is harness that power and learn how to heal yourself withyour mind.
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Neurologist Lisa M Shulman Md Faan Explains How Tragedy Affects The Brain
In the recent American Brain Foundation webinar Healing Your Brain After Loss: A Neurologists Perspective, Lisa M. Shulman, MD, explains the effects of traumatic events, such as loss and personal tragedy, on the brain. Dr. Shulman is the director of the University of Maryland Parkinsons Disease and Movement Disorders Center and is The Rosalyn Newman Distinguished Scholar in Parkinsons Disease. She has also served as treasurer for the American Academy of Neurology as well as on their Board of Directors, and in 2018, received the Presidents Award from the AAN for contributions to the Academy and the neurological profession. Discover the key learnings from the virtual event below.
How Do Drugs Affect Your Brain
When you have a substance use disorder, your brain might not work as well as it should. Drugs can interfere with your brains normal chemistry. While you might not feel any different or notice any significant changes at first, your behavior may gradually become erratic as your brain adjusts to drug use. If your brain has been or is currently affected by drug use, you might notice changes in behavior that can include:
- Impulse control. When youre struggling with addiction, your brain tends to prompt strong impulse reactions. When this takes place, you might engage in risky behaviors.
- Emotional control. Many types of drugs can make it hard for you to experience emotions. When the high is over, your emotions might become too much to bear, causing you to lash out emotionally or turn back to drug use.
- Memory. Some drugs can affect your brains hippocampus, which allows you to learn and memorize information. When youre struggling with substance abuse challenges, you may have trouble remembering bills, important dates, meetings, work obligations, or social activities.
- Reward system. Drugs trick and rewire the brains pleasure system, making it more likely that you will take drugs again and again.
- Flexible thinking. Drugs might affect the way your brain processes information. If youre unable to take in new information, youll find it hard to learn, adapt, or change your behavior. You may also find it really difficult to overcome bad or harmful habits.
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The Brains Response To Grief
Grief comes in many forms. Whether brought on by the death of a loved one, a serious illness or injury, divorce, abuse, or another cause, the brain interprets grief as emotional trauma or PTSD. Dr. Shulman explains that the human brain handles emotional trauma and stress using the same set of processes.
Traumatic loss is perceived as a threat to survival and defaults to protective survival and defense mechanisms, says Dr. Shulman. This response engages the fight or flight mechanism, which increases blood pressure and heart rate and releases specific hormones. Grief and loss affect the brain and body in many different ways. They can cause changes in memory, behavior, sleep, and body function, affecting the immune system as well as the heart. It can also lead to cognitive effects, such as brain fog. The brains goal? Survival.
Grief is a normal protective process, says Dr. Shulman. This process is an evolutionary adaptation to promote survival in the face of emotional trauma. Changes in brain function go largely undetected when an individual continues functioning normally, but these experiences still affect how the brain works.
What Happens When You Form A Pornography Watching Habit
Your brain becomes hijacked similar to a car being hijacked. Therefore, pornography is the hijacker and you may not even see it coming. Science shows that with continual pornography consumption, the more you watch the more youre flooding your brain with neurochemicals at unnaturally high levels. Your brain is being fried from the inside out.
The reward center in your brain becomes desensitized. With continual porn consumption, your brain needs more stimulation to get the same high. So if you watch more and more porn, youll need more and more stimulation than the amount that you used to. Its basically frying out the circuits in your brain. It is happening in very specific areas and then its happening between areas in terms of communication, which is called connectivity.
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How Tragedy Affects The Brain
In response to traumatic events, the brain creates connections between nerves and strengthens or weakens existing connections depending on the duration and degree of the emotional response. Neuroplasticity, or the ability to alter neural connections, allows the brain to compensate for injury, illness, loss, and other life-altering traumatic events by forming new neural connections based on these experiences. This helps an individual adapt to new situations or environments.
Low to moderate stress increases nerve growth and improves memory while reducing fear. However, chronic stress causes a reduction in nerve growth and memory and increases fear to help an individual focus on survival. This stress response can have a negative effect and the more it happens, the more it becomes hardwired.
When a circuit fires repeatedly, Dr. Shulman says, its reinforced and becomes a default setting. Over the long term, grief can disrupt the diverse cognitive domains of memory, decision-making, visuospatial function, attention, word fluency, and the speed of information processing.
How Is Brain Damage Diagnosed
When diagnosing a brain injury, a doctor will first consider the persons symptoms and the events that led to their injury. For example, they may ask if other people saw the person lose consciousness for a time period.
They will also consider if the person is acting very differently from their usual behavior or if the person is speaking and responsive to others.
Doctors will also perform other types of testing to determine the extent of an injury. Examples of these tests include:
- Imaging studies. CT scans or other imaging studies can reveal tumors, bleeding, or other damage to the brain.
- Blood tests. Testing for signs of infection and electrolyte imbalances can reveal the causes and effects of traumatic and nontraumatic injuries.
- Brain evaluations. Doctors have developed a number of tests that target certain areas of the brain, such as memory, problem-solving, and concentration.
There are many potential causes of brain damage. Additional testing may depend on a persons symptoms and type of injury.
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Neuroplasticity Cognition And Your Gut
A sluggish brain and poor cognitive function might actually relate to what is going on with your gut bacteria.
The science linking the brain and gut health is far from fully developed, but it shows that:
- There is constant two-way communication from your microbiota to your brain and the other way around, via nervous and immune systems and hormonal signaling [6
Mindfulness Can Help Reduce Depression
Millions of people suffer from depression globally, and according to data from Blue Cross Blue Shield, people of all age groups have seen a rise in depression diagnoses. In the U.S., depression affects around 10% of the population in a given year. And in the U.K., the number of people taking antidepressants increased by 100% between 1998 and 2010.
Professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, Zindel Segal, received a grant from the MacArthur Foundation to perform a study on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction . Along with two colleagues from the University of Oxford, Dr. Segal found that many patients saw dramatic results from the mindfulness program. Patients showed such high success rates that Dr. Segal got permission to do another study showing the effectiveness of mindfulness on depression. Because of these studies, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy became a mainstream healing modality for depression.
In the study, all of the patients had been previously diagnosed with depression. Of those, 80% experienced three or more depressive episodes in a year. 34-36% of MBCT participants who experienced three or more depressive episodes had not had a relapse in a year compared to those taking antidepressants or engaging in other types of therapy.
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Things This Neurologist Did To Heal Herself After Brain Surgery
In the summer of 2015, I underwent brain surgery for a rather large meningioma in my left frontal lobe. It was causing a huge amount of swelling and what we in the neurology field refer to as “mass effect” and “midline shift,” which is shop talk for my frontal lobe was pushing on my parietal lobe and the left side of my brain was on the right. Not fun stuff at all.
I had no time to really ponder much of anything as I was immediately admitted for tests and surgery. Cutting my skull from ear to ear, my neurosurgeon adeptly removed the tumor. A gross total resection, as we call it. And it was a success. Tumor gone. Job well done. Ordeal over? Well, not so much.