I think this quote from The American Society of Addiction Medicine sums up what actually happens during addiction pretty well..
“Addiction is not about drugs, it’s about brains. It is not the substances a person uses that make them an addict; it is not even the quantity or frequency of use. Addiction is about what happens in a person’s brain when they are exposed to rewarding substances or rewarding behaviors, and it is more about reward circuitry in the brain than it is about the external chemicals or behavior that “turn on” that reward circuitry.”
If you’ve used opiates for longer than 2-4 weeks, then you’re probably lacking in natural “feel good” brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters.
Your brain has four primary neurotransmitters and each one plays a critical and different role in your health and how you feel.
So what do they do for you?
When heroin and other opioid prescription pain relievers are abused for longer than a couple weeks, your brain slowly stops producing these critical neurotransmitters naturally. And the longer you use these drugs the less neurotransmitters you will naturally produce.
And here’s why:
Opiates release 2 to 10 times the amount of dopamine that natural rewards do.
This chart shows you how much more pleasure you get from cocaine than from eating: Your body typically receives 2 – 10x the mount natural rewards reliease.
What do you do if the volume on the stereo is too loud? You turn it down, right? Well our brain does that same thing when it adjusts to the overwhelming surges of dopamine (and other neurotransmitters) sent from abusing drugs consistently over time.
So here’s what happens:
To compensate for these surges from drugs your brain begins to produce less and less dopamine, serotonin and other key neurotransmitters.
This is what causes many of your most painful opioid withdrawal symptoms. And it’s why when you stop using drugs your brain’s naturally occurring neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA) are FAR below normal healthy levels.
Because opioids and all drugs pretty much destroy your body and brain’s production of it’s own natural feel good chemicals.
This creates a neurotransmitter imbalance or chemical deficiency and depending on the deficiency it can cause a wide range of physical, mental and emotional health problems if not treated correctly.
When your neurotransmitters are low or imbalanced, like they almost always are after drug addiction, you will likely feel flat, lifeless, depressed, nervous, anxious, stressed and unable to enjoy the things that use to bring you pleasure and joy in life.
Behavior like this is a common sign of a neurotransmitter deficiency or imbalance. Opiate and drug users almost always have neurotransmitters deficiency’s and certain chemical imbalances that may affect your mood and health.
And the longer you’ve used drugs for, the greater the imbalance or deficiency may be.
Dopamine deficiencies can cause fatigue, memory lose, depression, addiction, personality disorders, chronic fatigue, panic.
Serotonin deficiencies can cause constipation, nausea, blues, insomnia, addiction, depression, learning disabilities, thought confusion.
Acetycholine deficiencies can cause anxiety, stress, learning difficulties, agitation, mood swings, memory lapses, attention problems, diminished comprehension.
GABA deficiencies can cause insomnia, sleep disorders, muscle pain, muscle tension, stomach cramps, high anxiety, inability to think clearly, headache, hypertension.
Learning the hard way, costly mistakes taught me that you don’t have to suffer from this imbalance forever, because there are natural ways to raise many depleted nutritional deficiencies.
One of the easiest ways to release brain chemicals is by taking a supplement with natural nutrients that can boost dopamine, serotonin or others. There are many natural ingredients that are researched, tested and proven effective at releasing dopamine in the brain.
These easy to find vitamins and supplements are an excellent way to ensure a steady supply of nutrients essential to the production of neurotransmitters and to boost biochemical levels.
Serotonin effects your sleep, body temperature, sexual behavior and your pain sensations. It’s also a contributor in feelings like happiness and well-being.
5-HTP (hydroxyryptopan) – 5-HTP is the precursor to serotonin and helps your brain manufacture more serotonin. It is also the precursor for melatonin, the hormone involved in sleep patterns of the human body.
It works in the way that it helps the body to produce serotonin. 5-HTP is effectively used today for many ailments including weight loss, treating depression, fibromyalgia, migraines and it is said that it helps in treating Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, down syndrome, alcoholism, opiate withdrawal, PMS and menopausal symptoms and many other symptoms we face.
It’s thought to improve mood, help you sleep, and instill feelings of relaxation and calmness.
St. Johns Wort – An anti-depressant herb that is commonly used for its positive neurological effects on mood and attitude.
Dopamine boosting supplements are important after addiction because these levels are directly impacted by prolonged opiate abuse.
Mucuna Pruriens (extract) – A deficiency of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain can result in depression, sadness, lack of focus and low motivation. Fortunately if these levels are low, mucuna pruriens can help rebuild depleted neurotransmitters norepinephrine and boost dopamine. This improves mood and makes more chemical messengers that act in the brain to produce mental alertness and energy. Mucuna Pruriens can rapidly replenish depleted dopamine stores.
L-Tyrosine – This is another ingredient well known for its abilities to naturally help rebuild dopamine.
GABA boosting supplements can help you calm the brain and keep you on even keel. They also reduce stress, ease anxiety and promote sleep.
GABA – Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid, or GABA is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain – in the central nervous system. As a supplement GABA is commercially sold as a natural tranquilizer for the neurotransmitter effects. In other words, GABA is used to help people relax, calm down, relieve anxiety and sleep.
Glutamine – Helps decrease symptoms of anxiety, relieve muscle spasms, muscle tension
Melatonin – Controls sleep functions and awake sleep cycles.
B-Complex Vitamins – Produces a calming, relaxing effect by activating GABA and cyclic adenosine monophosphate.
L-Theanine – Helps you keep a calm and relaxed state without making you fall asleep.
Acetycholine is responsible for thinking functions, such as comprehension of language, intelligence, and attention.
Phosphatidylserine – An impressive volume of research shows that phosphatidylserine, another modified amino acid, benefits acetylcholine deficiency. Recommended for memory disorders and depression.
N-acetyl-cysteine – an amino acid that helps detoxify many chemicals and is a strong antioxidant.
Huperzine-A – Preserves acetylcholine, which helps neurons process memory without losing speed.
Here’s a few more excellent additional ways to release endorphins naturally after drug addiction while at home.
You can help replenish needed neurotransmitters by eating the right foods.