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REWIRING THE BRAIN: AN INFOGRAPHIC

I recently found this infographic on rewiring the brain, and I love it. If you are struggling with addiction, OCD, anxiety or another mental health condition, read it. The strategies described here could be a powerful addition to your medication, or they could be effective without taking meds.

I want to particularly point your attention to the few sections under the heading “The Addict’s Brain,” which explain the biology behind becoming addicted. As you consume an addictive substance or engage in an addictive  behavior, one part of your brain releases a flood of dopamine  (the chemical messenger that makes you feel pleasure), another part remembers that feeling, and another part remembers the environment you were in when you experienced that reward.

That’s why it’s so important for addicts to avoid triggers — the people, situations, and feelings that lead to the addictive behavior. It’s also important to develop healthy brain pathways to replace the unhealthy ones previously associated with those triggers.

And that’s the main thing I want you to understand from this infographic: It IS possible to change those pathways. If you associate depression, for example, with a need to seek out drugs or pornography or whatever your addiction may be, you CAN change that need. As you choose to respond to a depressed mood with a different behavior — like going for a walk or writing in a gratitude journal or performing a small act of kindness — your brain slowly changes. Those good pathways become stronger and the bad ones become weaker.

It takes mindfulness and practice. I’m here to help. Let’s get to work.

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