Balancing Neurotransmitters in Addiction Treatment

Exclusive Hawaii Rehab Addiction Treatment December 8, 2021

Balancing Neurotransmitters in Addiction Treatment

Healing the Brain After Alcohol and Drug Abuse

When drugs are abused, they alter the chemistry of the brain’s reward center, impacting the production and processing of neurotransmitters like dopamine. On top of affecting the “pleasure center” of the brain, it can affect memory formation, attention, learning, coordination, and movement.

Supplements can assist in addiction treatment by balancing neurotransmitters, and with an Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, our team of professionals can customize a holistic addiction treatment plan that will best benefit your unique case.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

Neurotransmitters Affected by Addiction


When drugs are abused, dopamine levels are almost always affected. Two to ten times the amount of dopamine floods the brain, producing a “high”, a burst of euphoria that can feel highly pleasurable and cause the person to want to repeat the process. Dependence and an increase in tolerance happen when the brain can no longer produce dopamine on its own, causing physical withdrawal symptoms to set in when the drug is no longer present, and requiring more of the drug to produce the same effect. This leads to addiction.


Serotonin levels are affected by drugs like Ecstasy, Cocaine, and PCP. This is a neurotransmitter that is important in stabilizing mood, impacting sexual desire, sleep and appetite.


Glutamate neurotransmitters are affected by drugs like alcohol, ketamine, and PCP. This is the main neurotransmitter in the brain that increases neuron activity and is a large part of the processes concerning memory, learning, and cognition.

Gamma-aminobutyric Acid (GABA)

GABA is affected by drugs like alcohol, benzodiazepines, sedatives, and tranquilizers. It is a neurotransmitter that naturally lowers stress and anxiety by slowing heart rate, and regulating blood pressure and body temperature. This is your body’s natural tranquilizer.


Norepinephrine is an excitatory neurotransmitter like adrenaline that stimulates the “fight or flight” response in the body by raising blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate, increasing respiration and heightening the senses. It impacts movement, sleep, moods, appetite, anxiety levels, memory, and sensory processing. This neurotransmitter is affected by drugs like amphetamines, methamphetamine, cocaine, and ADHD medications like Ritalin and Adderall.

Endorphins and Endogenous Opioids

Endorphins and Endogenous Opioids are affected by drugs like heroin and prescription opioid pain relievers like Vicodin, morphine, fentanyl, and OxyContin. These neurotransmitters impact mood and have a pain-relieving effect, with sedation and the slowing of central nervous system functions like breathing rates.

Endogenous Cannabinoids

Endogenous Cannabinoids are neurotransmitters that interact with CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the brain. They impact your memory, cognition, and movement and are affected by drugs like marijuana and synthetic cannabinoids like spice.

How Drug and Alcohol Abuse Affects Neurotransmitters

Drugs and alcohol can take over the normal function of brain chemicals, disrupting their communication paths and inhibiting them in their duties. Some drugs cause an overproduction of certain neurotransmitters while preventing them from being reabsorbed normally, resulting in a flood that interferes with regular brain activity.

Others bind to receptor sites to change neuron activation, disrupting the regular production of brain chemicals. Over time, the brain is rewired in the struggle to remain chemically balanced. Neurons can become damaged, and it will become difficult to feel pleasure, resulting in depression, insomnia, anxiety, and a host of other cognitive and mood issues.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

Nutritional Supplements for Rebalancing Neurotransmitters 

At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we use individually tailored treatments to help you heal your body as you recover from drug abuse. Nutritional supplements can help in balancing neurotransmitters with nutrition in addiction treatment, and we use a combination of treatments, which may include supplementation of vitamins, minerals, and herbs including:


NAD is a coenzyme, meaning it is a compound that other enzymes need present so they can do their work and is key in energy production.


This is a naturally produced antioxidant that is vital to the immune system working in its full capacity and helps with cognition, removing toxins from the body, and disease prevention.


A deficiency in B-Vitamins is called pernicious anemia. Supplementation of B Vitamins in the body results in healthier brain cells, boosting metabolism and immunity.


NAC helps boost the antioxidant glutathione, and is important in detoxification, supporting brain function, mood, and liver, kidney, and lung functions.


Melatonin is provided to help with insomnia and sleep problems by assisting in control over sleep cycles.


GABA may benefit in treating sleep issues, and it provides anti-seizure and anti-anxiety effects.

Herbs That Balance the Nervous System in Addiction Treatment

Herbs that can help balance the nervous system in addiction treatment include:

  • Passionflower
  • Skullcap
  • Milk thistle
  • Dandelion root
  • Turmeric
  • Brassica family foods
  • Holy basil
  • Ashwaganda