The Biochemistry of Addiction

There are many different parts of the brain with literally billions of different cells. As the different parts of the brain work together in harmony, optimal levels of functioning is achieved. Emotional and psychological trauma can changes the literal cellular structure of the brain. Addiction is a sign that some type of trauma has occurred, even if it is the substance or addictive process itself.

This handout discusses different parts of the brain. Research shows that each of these parts of the brain are involved in addictive and trauma process. Understanding the role that each part of the brain plays will help you as you engage in your healing process.

The cerebral cortex - This is the smart part of the brain. This is the brain that knows what to do in certain situations. This type of the brain knows how to avoid the addiction.

The limbic system - This is the emotional brain. It is made up of the following parts:

Due to the biochemistry of addiction and trauma, an individual can experience a trigger and the emotional brain can react before the cognitive brain has a chance to even interpret what took place. This is the addictive and traumatic process. Treatment is about retraining the brain to employ the entire system of the brain so that it can all work together and hence increase an individuals ability to be healthy.