It is important to note that with the rise of substance addiction problems as an epidemic, understanding the role of drugs and their impacts on the human brain is critical. Drugs work by directly affecting the human brain’s signaling processes by emulating the effects of normal receptor and neuromodulator functionalities. It is stated that “drugs interfere with the way neurons send, receive, and process signals via neurotransmitters. Some drugs can activate neurons because their chemical structure mimics that of a natural neurotransmitter in the body” (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2020, para. 5). In other words, substances disrupt the intercellular communication processes within the human brain. However, when it comes to the forebrain, which is the largest part of the human brain, the impact of drugs is the most notable and problematic. These include understanding, producing, and perceiving language, controlling motor function, as well as the processing and receiving sensory information thinking (My-MS, 2022). The main reason is that the forebrain is responsible for a wide range of functions that make a person a human.
Therefore, any intervention on the side of drugs can have massive implications on an individual’s internal experience, behavioral patterns, and cognitive capabilities. A study conducted with a focus on the forebrain and substances found that repeated stress imposed on Ank-G cKO neurons and their receptors induced ‘mania-like’ and ‘depression-like’ status, reminiscent of human bipolar disorder” (Zhu et al., 2017, p. 10479). Since the latter is a mental illness, and many brain diseases belong to this category of health problems, it is logical and necessary to recognize addiction as a brain disease as well. As with all brain diseases, they are accompanied by infections and injuries caused by a specific set of factors. Addiction is a form of injury caused to the brain, mostly in the forebrain, since substances disrupt the natural and normal functions of the organ.
My-MS. (2022). The brain – summary. Web.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Introducing the human brain. Web.
Zhu, S., Cordner, Z. A., Xiong, J., & Ross, C. (2017). Genetic disruption of ankyrin-G in adult mouse forebrain causes cortical synapse alteration and behavior reminiscent of bipolar disorder. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(39), 10479-10484. Web.