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The Facts

The human brain is the most complex organ in the body. You need it for everything you do, think, or feel. It controls who you are now and will be in the future. In short, your brain is you.

What does my brain control?

Your brain controls everything from breathing and moving your body, to making decisions each day. Because your brain is still developing it is more vulnerable to addiction. It can also mean permanent damage because of drug and alcohol use.

When is my brain fully developed?

While many aspects of your brain are already developed, the final part to mature isn’t fully complete until your mid to late 20s. This part of the brain is behind your forehead and is responsible for skills like planning, prioritizing, and making good decisions.

What part of my brain is damaged by drugs and alcohol?

Substance use impacts all parts of your brain in different ways. Regularly using drugs or alcohol can cause your brain to adapt and it becomes very hard to feel good without the drug. It may even make you feel like you need to use more.

What physical damage is done to my body if I use drugs and alcohol?

Using drugs and alcohol can cause many types of damage to your body. You may have a harder time fighting off sickness. Nausea and vomiting may make you lose weight. The strain on organs like your heart or liver could cause permanent damage. Substance use can also increase your risk of seizure or stroke.

What makes drugs and alcohol so addictive?

Drugs and alcohol can take over the parts of your brain that process feelings. Addiction to drugs and alcohol can also make you feel anxious and stressed when you’re not using them. This alteration can make you want more and more of the substance you’re using to maintain the perceived positive feelings.

Can my brain recover if I stop using drugs or alcohol?

There are several ways that you can work toward recovery. Talk to a medical professional or trained counselor. They can help you find what steps are best for you to take towards recovery from substance use.