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Can Dopamine Receptors Recover from Addiction?

November 23, 2022 , Agape Treatment

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Dopamine is the biggest reason people find themselves addicted to things like drugs, alcohol, sex, and more. One of the best ways to curb a dopamine addiction is to seek help.

However, it’s also important to note that there are different activities and routines that you can engage in to reduce issues that your dopamine receptors may have. So, if you’re looking for information on how you can help support your dopamine receptors and improve your overall symptoms, keep reading.

What is Dopamine?

Dopamine is considered a “pleasure chemical,” which is closely linked to the disease of addiction. When referring to a dopamine rush, many associates it with the brain’s natural reward system, which activates key neurochemicals during activities that bring happiness or pleasure.

The correlation between dopamine and addiction is very complex and is not yet fully understood. However, what is understood is that ongoing substance abuse can severely impact the natural function of neurotransmitters like dopamine.

Therefore, learning how long it takes for dopamine receptors to heal can be vital in uncovering the spectrum of substance use disorder (SUD) and its long-term impact on brain chemistry.

Dopamine is a monoamine neurotransmitter. It acts as a chemical messenger for communications between brain cells, the brain, and the rest of the body. Dopamine is also involved in regulating body movements, emotion, learning, sleep, and memory.

Some people may yearn for more of this dopamine “reward,” brought on by engaging in pleasurable experiences, such as indulging in delectable cuisine, engaging in sex, succeeding at a game, and obtaining wealth. But unfortunately, dopamine surges are also caused by alcohol and many illegal and addictive drugs, which is one of the many reasons people become addicted to them.

What is Dopamine’s Role in Drug Addiction?

Not only can drugs alter how we think, but they can also change how we feel and behave by disrupting neurotransmission, which is the communication process between neurons (nerve cells) in our brain. Many studies have been conducted during the past several decades highlighting how drug dependence and addiction result from an organic brain disorder caused by drugs’ cumulative effects on neurotransmission.

The release of dopamine occurs when drug users consume their substances. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure, happiness, and other comparable emotions. Over time, a drug addict starts to seek these feelings more and more — the dopamine sensation is what drives addiction or substance use disorders. But, in the end, the addict’s brain chemistry is harmed.

How Dopamine is Affected by Drug Use

When people merely go about their daily lives, dopamine production is at a lower baseline. Drug addiction often develops as people age because their brains become less receptive to dopamine. In other words, people may find it more difficult to feel or experience pleasure as a result of addictive substances. Thus they will continue to use drugs to try to do so

Can Dopamine Receptors Recover from Addiction?

It is certainly possible for dopamine receptors to recover from addiction. While it may take time, with the help of your doctor, support from friends and family, mental health professionals, patience, and consistency, it is certainly possible for dopamine recovery after addiction.

How to Reset Your Brain’s Dopamine Balance After Addiction

There are many ways that you can help reset your brain’s dopamine balance after addiction. However, it’s important to note that this will not necessarily be an easy task. Some of the ways to do this include:

  •     Creating consistent and fun daily routines and activities: Of course, these daily routines and activities will vary depending on the person, but some of these fun activities can include spending time with your loved ones who make you laugh, getting in regular exercise, and even simple activities such as coloring.
  •     Avoid Social Media: Social media has been said to cause a decrease in dopamine levels, so avoiding the apps altogether can allow you to reset your dopamine levels more quickly.
  •     Follow a solid sleep schedule: A consistent bedtime regimen and schedule can help you feel happier, increase your overall well-being, and ultimately help reset your dopamine levels. If this is hard for you at first, consider consulting a doctor.
  •     Listen to music: Giving yourself a chance to relax and listen to music that you enjoy is another great way to reset your mood and ultimately reset the dopamine in your brain.
  •     Practice mindfulness: If you’re wondering how to resensitize yourself, practicing mindfulness is another great way to do so and figure out how to overcome feelings of sadness. One great way to practice mindfulness is to practice meditation.
  •     Eat more protein: Eating protein-rich foods such as eggs, dairy, turkey, beans, and more are actually a great way to increase your dopamine levels and feel like your old self.
  •     Get ample sunlight: Most of us know sunlight has a clear effect on our overall mood. This means that getting proper sunlight should help your dopamine levels reset.

How Long Does it Take to Reset Your Brain’s Dopamine Levels?

Are you wondering “how long does it take dopamine to recover?” The amount of time it takes for your brain’s dopamine levels to reset will depend largely on your genetics and how damaged your brain’s dopamine levels and neural pathways were in the first place. Furthermore, your age and whether or not you struggle with other mental illnesses will also play a role in how your brain’s dopamine levels reset. 

In other words, these factors determine how quickly your brain chemistry will adjust. Additionally, there are long-term effects if you have been a long-time drug user. The human brain will typically see clear progress within 90 days.

Help for Addiction is More than Just Rehab

If you or someone you care for needs help to treat their addiction, consider reaching out to Agape Treatment Center for assistance. Our Fort Lauderdale, Florida drug and alcohol treatment center offers exceptional patient-focused treatment, designed to help those work toward and maintain their sobriety.

Our belief that every person deserves the chance to live a full life free from the chains of addiction is the foundation of our evidence-based approaches to therapy and counseling. We provide a complete treatment plan for patients, with several levels of care available. These treatments include partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient programs, group therapy, and more.

Saving people from the grasp of chemical dependency, substance abuse, mental health disorders, co-occurring diseases, and alcoholism is the main goal of Agape’s behavioral healthcare program.

Many of Agape’s health programs are also very helpful for promoting dopamine receptor restoration. These include integrative medicine, diet planning, yoga with a 12-step integration, meditation, and mindfulness exercises. Other wellness programs include faith-based addiction therapy and treatment.