Abuse on Brain Development and Cognitive Functioning

Substance abuse has become one of the most serious issues in countries across the world. Moreover, the problem is generally more widespread in affluent societies, which proves that it differs significantly from other global concerns and should be analyzed and addressed with a wide range of new tools. Substance abuse leads to numerous social and economic repercussions that are felt by all members of society, not solely the addicted individuals and the people who interact with them. Therefore, it is of major importance to design various initiatives that can prevent addiction among different population groups. The paper aims to examine the reasons why people get addicted to a substance from their psychological and biological perspectives and the effects of substance abuse on the brain, memory, personality, and behavior. Moreover, it considers the difficulties for people to quit drugs due to mental and biological issues. Realizing how the substance affects people’s wellbeing, in the long run, is central to mitigating the current crisis. Long-term substance abuse has a specific psychological and biological precondition that negatively affects addicts’ cognitive abilities and is characterized by a complicated healing process.

Substance abuse affects behavior and results in significant changes in the perception of reality. Moreover, drugs in general lead to psychological problems that can undermine all the efforts of an addicted person, their family, or medical personnel to eliminate the initial, mostly biological, repercussions of the abuse. One of the major obstacles to successful treatment is, in many cases, an addicted individual’s inability to realize the importance of it. Such issues are more severe in young people, as their immaturity can be worsened by the stubbornness that often follows drug abuse. Moreover, young addicts’ diminished chances to successfully acquire knowledge and apply it hinders the opportunity to reintegrate. The issue of substance abuse attracts the particular attention of scholars and causes their attempts to reveal its effects on people’s brains. They are conditional upon the fact that neural processes leading to drug addiction also influence people’s cognitive abilities and, subsequently, result in one’s failure in studying (Juárez‐Portilla et al., 2018). In this way, the consideration of this aspect of the impact of addictive substances in the context of the specified problem is needed for the precision of actions in this direction.

The development of an addiction is connected to the presence of various problems consequently worsening the affected people’s mental state. The addiction is generally developed due to a series of a wide variety of problems that are further exacerbated depending on the severity of the addiction. The biological issues connected with the complications stemming from substance abuse include structural and functional changes in the brain (Juárez‐Portilla et al., 2018). Thus, the way the brain and the nerve system function can be altered significantly by the processes in the body which are initiated or accelerated by certain types of drugs. What is more, such structural changes tend to result in various illnesses that further hinder the chances of a drug addict overcoming the abuse and returning to the usual way of life free of suffering and diseases. Long-term substance abuse ultimately correlates with the development of psychosis or schizophrenia, which makes these issues interrelated (Bossong & Niesink, 2010). Therefore, one of the major concerns is the number of disorders that tend to follow the initial problem of substance abuse.

Substance abuse results in damage to one’s brain, memory, personality, and behavior. Although the biological impact on a person’s health is severe in the case of long-term substance abuse, the psychological repercussions that follow the disruptive process can seriously hinder a person’s ability to interact with other members of society. Since principal complications are related to the damage of the brain, the crucial signs include memory impairment and difficulties with learning. The ability to study strongly correlates with memory and cognitive functioning. Therefore, the cases of drug abuse that show substantial damage to the brain and the way it operates should be analyzed thoroughly to realize the scale of the devastating impact it has on the ability of young people to learn. Moreover, such processes can hinder the opportunity to communicate with a drug addict. The shifts in personality and behavior can particularly be traced to young people who become less sociable and more stubborn (Kalinowski et al., 2020). Therefore, it should be considered when introducing various initiatives that are aimed at improving the lives of drug addicts.

The issue of substance abuse is significant due to the complicated process of healing. In substance abuse, rehabilitation is often characterized by reoccurrence (Bossong & Niesink, 2010). In this way, the initial problem is worsened by one’s inability to cope with the consequences of such events. The abovementioned psychological issues that tend to arise as a result of drug abuse undermine the treatment efforts, as addicts often do not realize the importance of the process due to altered brain functions. The recovery period from substance abuse presents a challenge due to the emergence of specific complications, and their elimination takes much time. These issues include continuous distractions and cognitive alterations, which define the occurring psychological problems (Bossong & Niesink, 2010). Therefore, it is of major importance to introduce more sophisticated methods in the rehabilitation process that apply to the mental and emotional state of those whose brain and cognitive functioning have been affected severely by drugs.

Thus, the psychological and biological mechanisms of acquiring an addiction imply structural and functional changes in the brain and their correlation with psychosis and schizophrenia. Subsequently, they evoke such symptoms as memory impairment as well as difficulties with learning and social interactions. What is more important in this case, substance abuse and addiction stemming from it are challenging in treatment since they are characterized by reoccurrence and a lengthy recovery period. In this way, it can be concluded that further consideration of this problem will allow preventing complications. Numerous initiatives that currently seek to mitigate the widespread problems that drug addicts encounter generally do not undertake to adjust some of their efforts in order to succeed in the long term and prevent reoccurrences. The focus on the immediate result undermines the complexity of the issue and does not contribute to the establishment of comprehensive policies that allow for a special approach to those who are involved in substance abuse. Moreover, local authorities should pay more attention to the problem and provide new opportunities to perform in alternative ways.

The current study is extremely beneficial in terms of presenting the situation of addicts and complications attributed to them. However, it still lacks clarity regarding the methods which can be used to address the problem of substance abuse. The complexity of the issue that encompasses numerous challenges associated with health, social, and economic problems does not allow for the creation of a universal strategy that can be utilized nationwide. Therefore, local regulations that center around the mitigation of the issue should be transformed duly in order to overcome the crisis. The study also does not fully describe the perceptions of their situation related to addiction by affected persons. Thus, this gap in answering the research questions should be covered in a future study that should also contain practical measures allowing to eliminate the problem.


Bossong, M. G., & Niesink, R. J. (2010). Adolescent brain maturation, the endogenous cannabinoid system and the neurobiology of cannabis-induced schizophrenia. Progress in Neurobiology, 92(3), 370–385. Web.

Juárez‐Portilla, C., Molina‐Jiménez, T., Morin, J., Roldán‐Roldán, G., & Zepeda, R. C. (2018). Influence of drugs on cognitive functions. In B. Bernal-Morales (Ed.), Health and academic achievement (pp. 59–81). Books on Demand.

Kalinowski, L., Connor, C., Somanesan, R., Carias, E., Richer, K., Smith, L., Martin, C., Mackintosh, M., Popoola, D., Hadjiargyrou, M., Komatsu, D. E., & Thanos, P. K. (2020). Brief and extended abstinence from chronic oral methylphenidate treatment produces reversible behavioral and physiological effects. Developmental Psychobiology, 62(2), 170–180. Web.

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