Brain injuries can be debilitating physically, especially if they are severe enough. However, experts like Dr. Curtis Cripe believes that aside from the physical dangers, brain injuries also add another hazard for the patient – the high risk of substance abuse.
Physiologically, having trauma injuries are crippling enough that they can cause sections of the brain to malfunction, and even stop its activities altogether. If the trauma occurs in the frontal cortex of the brain, there will be a higher chance that individuals will slip into substance abuse. This is because the frontal part of the brain is responsible for abstract thinking, including decision making, reasoning and logic. Should dysfunction occur in this brain system, the patient will have harder time reasoning, which will likely affect sound decision making, which in turn can lead the patient into making poor conclusions and decisions. The patient reaches wrong conclusions allowing the individual to relapse. In addition, with flawed reasoning and logic, the patient will also have a harder and longer time in recovery.
Meanwhile, even if the frontal cortex remains intact, injuries to other parts of the brain can also contribute to substance addiction. Traumatic brain injuries cause behavioral changes in the patient such as memory issues, and cognitive dissonance, among others. These new patterns in behavior may also impair the patient’s understanding, again leading to poor decisions.
Abuse also leads to brain damage
Dr. Curtis Cripe also acknowledges that the reverse is true – even without brain injuries, one can also have brain damage due to substance addiction. Addiction also gradually weakens the body systems needed for function, including the central nervous system and the brain. Substance and alcohol abuse also impair the brain’s ability to recover and heal, opening up the body to a number of disorders and complications.
Aside from the physical treatment, the patient may also undergo cognitive and behavioral remediation in order to get the brain to function to its pre-injury state. Meanwhile, after the brain injury has been treated, the patient will still need to undergo remediation and therapy to help overcome the addiction from the body’s systems.
Intervention and risk reduction
There are several intervention methods available to curb substance abuse. Treating brain injuries through cognitive repair depends on strong foundations for effective remediation as well as appropriate professional guidance and care.