Dealing with addiction before it ruins your festive holidays

Dealing with addiction before it ruins your festive holidays

Beta-endorphins and alcohol craving

Beta-endorphins are natural opioids produced by the brain, often referred to as “feel-good” chemicals. When a person is deficient in beta-endorphins, they may experience feelings of discomfort, anxiety or low mood. In response the brain seeks substances that can boost the feel-good chemicals, such as alcohol. Alcohol consumption leads to the release of beta-endorphins, temporarily relieving these negative feelings. The brain registers this relief and associates alcohol consumption with a solution to its deficiency, reinforcing the craving and the cycle of addiction.

Dopamine and methamphetamine addiction

Methamphetamine addiction is closely tied to the brain’s dopamine system. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure and reward. Methamphetamine use significantly increases dopamine release, creating intense feelings of euphoria. However, chronic methamphetamine use depletes the brain’s natural dopamine reserves. This dopamine deficiency is a key driver of addiction as the brain craves the intense pleasure associated with the drug. As a result, people addicted to methamphetamine continue to seek the drug to restore dopamine levels, reinforcing their addiction.

“In both cases, addiction develops as the brain attempts to correct the chemical imbalances or deficiencies created by drug use. It perceives the substance as a solution to its discomfort, stress or lack of natural feel-good chemicals,” said Rudman.

“This perception strengthens the association between drug use and relief, making it increasingly difficult for individuals to resist cravings and addiction.

“Understanding this radar-like mechanism in the brain highlights the importance of addressing the root causes of addiction, which often include neurotransmitter imbalances. Comprehensive addiction treatment approaches may include therapies such as neurofeedback to help individuals regain control over their brain’s chemical balance and reduce the reinforcement of addiction.”

To address the neurological underpinnings of addiction, a promising approach is emerging, namely neurofeedback. Neurofeedback is a non-invasive technique that helps individuals gain better control over their brain activity. Rudman said this therapeutic method offers hope to those seeking recovery from addiction by targeting specific neural pathways and helping to rewire the brain towards healthier patterns.

How does neurofeedback work, and how can it assist in addiction recovery?

Here are six steps that simplify the process.

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