The Brain, Substances & Overwhelm:
As a mental health professional, I am genuinely fascinated by the human brain. Our overall well-being depends on the integration of mind, body, and soul – a delicate balance. When one element suffers, it affects the rest of our being. It is crucial to acknowledge that emotional and relational issues presented by my clients are regularly rooted in the functionality of their brains. This blog series is dedicated to highlighting various aspects of a healthy brain and body connection.
Today, I aim to shed light on the profound impact of substances such as alcohol and marijuana on our mental and physical health. It’s not uncommon for individuals to unwind with a glass of wine or a beer after a long day. Similarly, in a world where marijuana is increasingly legalized, many seek solace through smoking a joint or consuming edibles to alleviate anxiety. I empathize entirely with the overwhelming nature of life that drives these choices.
To comprehend how these substances affect us, let’s explore the vital role of an amino acid called GABA, how it functions, and the impact of substances on its regulation. GABA receptors, as inhibitory neurotransmitters within the central nervous system, serve to reduce neuronal excitability by suppressing nerve transmission. Essentially, GABA helps keep our brains calm and is critical in preventing seizures. Individuals experiencing severe dependency often face seizures when deprived of these substances.
With continuous usage of alcohol and marijuana, our brain produces less GABA because these substances elicit similar effects. The problem arises when we don’t have access to these substances, as our brains fail to produce sufficient GABA, causing increased arousal and anxiety. Thus, we find ourselves trapped in a vicious cycle of perpetual anxiousness, only relieved by substance use. Over time, this also leads to depression, as the brain remains in a perpetually over-aroused state.
Additionally, GABA plays a significant role in managing pain and sensory receptors within the spine. When our brain fails to produce sufficient GABA due to substance use, our bodies become highly sensitive to physical pain and negative emotions. Naturally, none of us relish heightened pain sensations, providing yet another compelling reason to minimize the consumption of these substances.
What to Do With This Information:
While most individuals will find this information valuable in moderating their alcohol and drug intake, I recognize that cutting back or eliminating substances can present a significant challenge for some. For those grappling with an over-aroused brain, neurofeedback offers a promising alternative. By calming the brain, neurofeedback allows for a state of increased serenity, decreasing the need for dependency.
For most of you, this information serves as a useful reminder to moderate alcohol consumption for optimal brain and body function. However, cutting back or eliminating substances can be challenging for some, as their brain remains in a constant state of overarousal. In such cases, neurofeedback can prove beneficial in calming the brain, reducing dependence on artificial means of achieving calmness. By addressing the electrical component of the brain, we pave the way for chemical balance.
If you desire a more in-depth understanding, please refer to the articles provided. Additionally, feel free to explore my website for further information on neurofeedback or reach out to me with any questions you may have.
Let’s work toward a healthier and more balanced lifestyle together!