The mind of a drug addict is speculated to be quite different than that of a normal individual.
What seems to be distorted is the brain’s reward pathway, coinciding with the neurotransmitter dopamine. These mechanisms are responsible for the feelings of accomplishment a person receives from the triumphs in life. It is suggested, that drug addicts have a difficult time, achieving this sense of accomplishment.
Using substances tends to fill this void for the addict. The only problem is it does not stop at just one. As the addict begins to ingest substances the brain becomes familiar with the effects necessary to achieve the results of the initial consumption. The brain begins developing hundreds if not thousands of thoughts, rationalize why the persistent use of these substances will benefit the person.
The brain’s mental capacity is severely reduced, due to the number of thoughts, centered on using drugs. The prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain responsible for organizing thoughts and making decisions), becomes overpowered by the brain’s reward system. The person no matter how intelligent begins choosing instant gratification over rational decisions. This does not end once the drugs are taken away.
For several months of abstinence from drug use, the brain is rewiring itself into having its prefrontal cortex, restored to optimal levels. During this time, the individual may act out in an impulsive manner and have a difficult time, maintaining their daily lives. After some time, the person is restored back to normal, significantly increasing their abilities, unlike ever before.