How addiction hijacks the brain

Ever been mesmerized when looking at something? Pre-occupied with hunger or thirst, unable to focus on anything else? Stuck in your thoughts about the loss of a love? Addiction to alcohol and other drugs is like that, it “hijacks” the the brain, making it very difficult to focus on anything else.

Specifically the “reward center” of the brain cannot be satisfied with anything less than using the drug. Think of it this way, eating a meal or being with someone you love feels good, right? Imagine that good feeling for a moment. Now multiply it times 10 . . . now times 100. Imagine how pleasurable that would feel. That’s what using drugs or drinking can feel like to an addicted person. The pursuit of that pleasure becomes all-consuming. Notice the difference in the two slides below.

Notice certain connections become supercharged with drugs/alcohol, while the connection between judgement and drive becomes much weaker


The reasonable part of the brain (executive) is overpowered by the base drive for pleasure (mid-brain). As addiction takes hold, the thinking part of the brain begins to serve the drive for the super-pleasure provided by the substance. The skills of rationalizing, justifying and excuse-making are developed and perfected.

Trying to quit FEELS like being deprived of food or ending a relationship. Most people relapse. The pursuit of super-pleasure is all-consuming. The brain has changed. But with the right treatment and follow-up, normal brain-function can be restored. With rigorous treatment, diligent follow-up and monitoring lasting recovery is possible. BoardPrep Recovery Center tailors treatment plans to the individual, restoring the brain-function necessary for lifelong sobriety.

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  • BoardPrep is based on the highly successful physician health model
  • Everyone deserves the same great recovery rates that are seen with physicians, nurses and pilots.
  • Doctors who go to rehab have an over 80% verified compliance and abstinence rate for five years after treatment, why?
  • At BoardPrep, the same “best practices” that create better recovery rates for doctors, are utilized for all.

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Effective treatment for addiction mirrors the NIDA “best practice” principles (National Institute of Drug Abuse)

BoardPrep Treatment Principles mirroring all 13 NIDA Best Practice Principles

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