Substances & Neurobiology
Suffering from addiction often comes with feelings of shame, guilt, and pain; this may be attributed to the fact that historically, addiction was viewed as a type of moral failing or character flaw. However, neuroscientists and addiction specialists now understand much more about substances and how casual use can progress to abuse and eventually addiction. It is now known that addiction is actually not character weakness, but instead a chronic illness. Addiction as an illness is categorized by clinically significant impairments in your over all health, social and/or occupational functioning, relationships, and in your ability to gain control over your substance use, despite your best efforts.
At Villa Kali Ma we understand that your addiction does not define who you are as a person, we know that you are suffering from a chronic illness, similar to diabetes, asthma, and hypertension. Although the mechanisms of addiction are seemingly different from these other conditions, all of these disorders are chronic, subject to relapse, and influenced by genetic, developmental, behavioral, social, and environmental factors. In all of these illnesses, the individuals who are affected may show difficulty in managing their symptoms and complying with treatment; which is why we are here to help.
In our Substances and Neurobiology groups we hope to provide you with the psychoeducation and knowledge needed to fully understand the science behind your addiction. All addictive substances have powerful effects on the brain and body. These effects are what create the euphoric or intensely pleasurable feelings that you may experience when using, and these feelings intrinsically motivate you to continue to use the substance again and again, despite the risks that may be associated with your use. We will discuss various substances, what they are, and how they affect your brain and body. We introduce the different parts of the brain that substances alter and examine exactly how and why they are impacted. The neurotransmitters and hormones that are affected are also part of our group discussion and as a group member you are given the opportunity to investigate your subjective experience and explore the specific influence that substances have had in your personal functioning. By understanding the science behind addiction, including the progressive changes, called neuroadaptations, which occur in the structure and function of your brain, we hope to empower you to commit to sobriety as means of protecting your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.