Drug Related Brain Injury2018-09-26T16:11:30+00:00

Drug Related Brain Injury

Drugs can have a negative impact on the brain which can result in damage to many important regions. With psychoactive substances having an influence on the brain, there is no surprise that long term use of drugs can result in brain injury. Some instances are debilitating or even life threatening.

Drugs have a range of effects on the brain, such as:

  • Changes to the chemical concentrations in the brain
  • Deprivation of oxygen to the brain tissue
  • Direct damage to the brain, injury, or death of brain cells


In some cases, and depending on the extent of damage, there can be some possibility to
reverse the damage caused by the drugs. However, if there has been extensive cell death or damage to the brain, recovery may not be possible, and the damage permanent.

How Jurmaine Neuropsychologists can help:

The Jurmaine Health  team can investigate the cognitive, emotional and behavioural effects of the brain. and provide detailed assessments that assist in diagnosing the cognitive impacts of drug related brain injury and help plan treatments. The neuropsychology assessment can also help to provide a baseline so that changes can be compared to determine improvements or struggles over time.

Jurmaine Health Neuropsychology Assessments consist of an interview followed by a range of tests appropriate to the clients requirements. Results from the assessment are then used to create plans and/or recommendations for the individual, to aid improvement.

Cocaine:

Cocaine and methamphetamines are stimulants that directly target dopamine and its receptors in the brain. The uptake of the neurotransmitter is reduced, resulting in extreme euphoria. With prolonged use, the dopamine receptor cells can become damaged or the cells can even die. This can result in ‘anhedonia’, a condition that diminishes the ability to feel pleasure, unless in the presence of the drug. This lack of ability to feel pleasure can last long after the use of the drug has been stopped and it can result in the person becoming depressed. However, with continued abstinence and treatment, the cells can repair and return to their prior function.

Marijuana

Marijuana if used regularly, some can develop psychosis. There is still speculation about how this occurs, although it has been proposed to only occur in people who have a predisposition to schizophrenia or other conditions. However, there is still much to learn about the mechanisms that cause this effect.

Opioids

Opioids are a depressant that can restrict breathing, which can then result in a reduced amount of blood oxygen concentration. This can result in a range of damage through oxygen deprivation which can cause brain cell death and quickly lead to coma. The damage can be acute if there is an overdose on opioids, or over a number of years of use.

Signs of brain damage from drug abuse can include:

  • Slowed reaction times
  • Reduced cognitive abilities
  • Memory problems
  • Blackouts
  • Lack of physical coordination
  • Dementia
  • Hallucinations

How does drug related brain injury affect thinking?

Due to the addictive nature of most drugs, it can be difficult to stop taking them. With long-term use brain cells can die which can then affect the way we think. When trying to stop taking the drug, the lack of its presence in the system can leave the person feeling depressed and detached from the world around them. This can then result in suicidal or harmful thoughts. I
t can be difficult to go and meet with friends or be in social spaces. The person can become irritable or feel like people are against them. The person may also think that they cannot talk to anyone else about what they are going through, and seek help.

How might drug related brain injury affect everyday function?

Brain injury caused by drug use can have a variety of impacts on everyday function. Some damage can result in memory issues, which can alter the way the person performs in their work, personal and social lives. There can be a reduction in cognitive abilities which can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks and activities to the capacity they were once able. Additionally, if there is damage that causes problems with physical coordination, the person may find it difficult to coordinate everyday things, such as sports, or walking, even household chores. Depending the the extent of the damage and possibility of recovery, the person may require assistance in the future to complete daily tasks.

Drug Related Brain Injury

Drugs can have a negative impact on the brain which can result in damage to many important regions. With psychoactive substances having an influence on the brain, there is no surprise that long term use of drugs can result in brain injury. Some instances are debilitating or even life threatening.

Drugs have a range of effects on the brain, such as:

  • Changes to the chemical concentrations in the brain
  • Deprivation of oxygen to the brain tissue
  • Direct damage to the brain, injury, or death of brain cells


In some cases, and depending on the extent of damage, there can be some possibility to
reverse the damage caused by the drugs. However, if there has been extensive cell death or damage to the brain, recovery may not be possible, and the damage permanent.

How Jurmaine Neuropsychologists can help:

The Jurmaine Health  team can investigate the cognitive, emotional and behavioural effects of the brain. and provide detailed assessments that assist in diagnosing the cognitive impacts of drug related brain injury and help plan treatments. The neuropsychology assessment can also help to provide a baseline so that changes can be compared to determine improvements or struggles over time.

Jurmaine Health Neuropsychology Assessments consist of an interview followed by a range of tests appropriate to the clients requirements. Results from the assessment are then used to create plans and/or recommendations for the individual, to aid improvement.

Cocaine:

Cocaine and methamphetamines are stimulants that directly target dopamine and its receptors in the brain. The uptake of the neurotransmitter is reduced, resulting in extreme euphoria. With prolonged use, the dopamine receptor cells can become damaged or the cells can even die. This can result in ‘anhedonia’, a condition that diminishes the ability to feel pleasure, unless in the presence of the drug. This lack of ability to feel pleasure can last long after the use of the drug has been stopped and it can result in the person becoming depressed. However, with continued abstinence and treatment, the cells can repair and return to their prior function.

Marijuana

Marijuana if used regularly, some can develop psychosis. There is still speculation about how this occurs, although it has been proposed to only occur in people who have a predisposition to schizophrenia or other conditions. However, there is still much to learn about the mechanisms that cause this effect.

Opioids

Opioids are a depressant that can restrict breathing, which can then result in a reduced amount of blood oxygen concentration. This can result in a range of damage through oxygen deprivation which can cause brain cell death and quickly lead to coma. The damage can be acute if there is an overdose on opioids, or over a number of years of use.

Signs of brain damage from drug abuse can include:

  • Slowed reaction times
  • Reduced cognitive abilities
  • Memory problems
  • Blackouts
  • Lack of physical coordination
  • Dementia
  • Hallucinations

How does drug related brain injury affect thinking?

Due to the addictive nature of most drugs, it can be difficult to stop taking them. With long-term use brain cells can die which can then affect the way we think. When trying to stop taking the drug, the lack of its presence in the system can leave the person feeling depressed and detached from the world around them. This can then result in suicidal or harmful thoughts. I
t can be difficult to go and meet with friends or be in social spaces. The person can become irritable or feel like people are against them. The person may also think that they cannot talk to anyone else about what they are going through, and seek help.

How might drug related brain injury affect everyday function?

Brain injury caused by drug use can have a variety of impacts on everyday function. Some damage can result in memory issues, which can alter the way the person performs in their work, personal and social lives. There can be a reduction in cognitive abilities which can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks and activities to the capacity they were once able. Additionally, if there is damage that causes problems with physical coordination, the person may find it difficult to coordinate everyday things, such as sports, or walking, even household chores. Depending the the extent of the damage and possibility of recovery, the person may require assistance in the future to complete daily tasks.

Let us help you

Our caring team is here to help. Our services aim to help both your brain and body achieve optimal health. Contact our Neuropsychological & Neuromusculoskeletal team for effective advice, assessment and management of your concerns and issues.

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