Neurobiology & Addiction 

In recovery, it can become frustrating to manage your cravings. When you struggle to do so, you might experience isolation, anxiety, depression, and negative thoughts and behaviors. Your methods worked yesterday, so why are they failing you today? As science and research evolve, discoveries made on the brain and its relationship with addiction do, too. ( treatments and practices such as counseling, therapy, mindfulness and meditation strive to locate the cause of your addiction. (, neurobiology is a more recent practice that examines your brain’s circuitry and behaviors more in-depth to discover what drives your addiction. When you have reached a point where your struggle to resist cravings happens more intermittently, neurobiology could provide you with the answers to understand your cravings. 


According to the NCBI, historically, it was believed by researchers that neurological growth in the brain stopped during early adulthood. However, recent research has shown that new neurons and pathways can form throughout your life. Now professionals can study the mechanisms that directly impact your life experiences and correct them through the means of new neural pathways—specifically using neurobiology as a therapy. 

Neurobiology is a study of the nervous system’s cells and how they are organized and function as a circuitry process within your brain. This treatment studies how information and behavior are moved throughout your brain. Concerning your drug or alcohol addiction, this analysis examines the brain and how it is connected to your actions during substance abuse periods. Its goal is to understand these disorders and help you to understand the cause of your addiction cravings. 

How Neurobiology Works

Neurobiology is the study of neurons, glial cells and the extracellular matrix. Neurons are nervous system cells that process information. Glial cells nourish the neurons and lend structural support to them. The extracellular matrix provides support on a molecular level for neurons and glial cells. More recently, there has been interest in more complex glial cells called astrocytes – star-shaped cells that form in the brain and spinal cord. These are important because they support the brain on a molecular level and help maintain homeostasis, which, in turn, supports glial cells, neurons, and the extracellular matrix. 

Neuroscience studies their relationship, and research studies the interactions between these cells. Studies have shown an association in creating new pathways from a patient obtaining new information or ideas. Additionally, these formations occur at any age. This is encouraging because this shows that treatment can correct and alleviate past traumatic experiences that influence your addiction and cravings. 

How Does This Affect Behavior?

The brain is composed of multiple areas that are responsible for your behaviors. Neurobiology aims to understand these behaviors and their relationship with various parts of the brain. Studies have identified the frontal lobe as playing a primary role in personality, emotions, judgment, problem-solving, abstract thought, attention and planning. A distinct function of this portion of the brain is in speech. While the frontal lobe is more refined in thinking and problem solving, the parietal and occipital lobe are more responsible for interpretation; visually, audibly and spatially. The temporal lobe is the auditory cortex, which is the key to hearing. It is essential to understand each division of the brain to know how it functions to process and interpret information. 

Neurotransmitters become essential in discovering how the brain functions because they are responsible for three contributing functions: exciting, inhibiting and modulating neurons. Most disorders are said to result from fluctuating levels of each of these processes, i.e., how information is interpreted, sent and received. These fluctuations can be caused by the underproduction or hyper-production of the transmitters. Also, damage to any of the neurons can cause instabilities. 

Future of Neurobiology

While continued research regarding neurobiology is necessary, what research has shown is that by undergoing brain evaluation for how drugs affect your brain, understanding that different drugs influence the brain differently. The philosophy is to continue to locate and treat these areas of the brain affected by the substance; this way, science could help treat and correct these cravings. 


While there is a lot left to be discovered, many breakthroughs have occurred in understanding addiction. As more research and studies grow, brain stimulation practices could find themselves as the new conventional treatment for addiction. The better you can understand how your brain functions, the better treatment you can obtain. Always remember that no matter how hard it is to fight your craving, you are not alone. Knowing that options like neurobiology therapy exist at Cliffside Malibu, you should never be left feeling like you don’t have a chance for recovery. If you are exhibiting negative thoughts and behaviors, the time to reach out is now.

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