Finger pointing at x-ray of a brain


The use of drugs, including alcohol and other substances, during brain development can have severe and long-lasting effects on an individual’s basic thinking and reaction to situations . This is particularly concerning during the adolescent and early adult years, as the brain is still undergoing significant changes and maturation. In this blog, we will explore the effects of some of the most commonly used drugs on the developing brain.

Drugs and Their Effects


Alcohol is one of the most commonly used and abused substances among young people. It can impact brain development by interfering with neurotransmitter systems, altering brain structure, and disrupting the formation of connections between neurons. Chronic alcohol use during this critical period of development can lead to deficits in memory, learning, attention, and executive functioning, which can persist into adulthood.


Cannabis is another commonly used substance among youth, and its effects on the developing brain have been well documented. Research has shown that using cannabis during brain development can negatively affect cognitive function, particularly in areas such as memory, attention, and executive function. Cannabis use can also interfere with the formation of new neural connections, impacting the brain’s ability to process and integrate information.


Stimulants, such as methamphetamine and cocaine, can have particularly damaging effects on the developing brain. These drugs alter neurotransmitter levels and brain function, leading to long-term changes in brain structure and function. Changes in the dopamine and serotonin systems can impact mood, motivation, and reward-seeking behavior, and can increase the risk of addiction and overdose.


Opioids, including prescription painkillers and heroin, can also negatively impact the developing brain. These drugs alter neurotransmitter levels and the brain’s reward system, leading to changes in behavior, mood, and motivation. They can also increase the risk of addiction and overdose.

What are Cognitive and Behavioral Functions?

Cognitive and behavioral functioning refers to the mental processes and actions that are involved in our day-to-day lives. Our cognitive functions help us to understand and process information, reason and make decisions, remember events and information, and pay attention to our surroundings. Meanwhile, our behavioral functions help us to express emotions, interact with others, and perform physical actions.

In individuals with normal cognitive and behavioral functioning, these processes work together in a balanced and harmonious way. However, disruptions to this balance can lead to mental health problems and behavioral disorders. For example, individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may have difficulties with attention and impulse control, while individuals with depression may experience changes in mood and behavior.

Assessment and treatment of cognitive and behavioral functioning are important for individuals with mental health problems, as it helps to improve their quality of life and functioning. This can include therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. In therapy, individuals can work with a therapist to develop coping strategies and improve their social and interpersonal skills. Medication can help to manage specific symptoms, such as anxiety or depression, while lifestyle changes, such as exercise and healthy eating, can improve overall cognitive and behavioral functioning.

desk with books representing cognitive and behavioral functions

Treatment for Drug abuse


Medically Assisted detox is a process designed to manage acute intoxication and deal with withdrawal symptoms. FDA approved medications are proven to ease harmful withdrawal symptoms during detox.


Our Inpatient residential treatment allows our clients to have access to our highly individualized programs in a safe environment. Clients can fully immerse themselves in customized treatment.


We offer outpatient services after residential treatment to ensure our clients have the best resources available for lasting recovery. Outpatient services can include individual therapy and group therapy.


We offer Sober Living to provide continued support to our clients whose goals are transitioning back to a healthy life. Making the commitment to sober living helps clients avoid relapse and maintain a substance-free lifestyle.

Virtual treatment , Who Are We?

At Virtual Treatment Center, we believe quality addiction recovery and mental health services should be easily accessible to those that want or need them, because ease of accessibility is what most often leads to success. That’s why we’re committed to providing top-tier virtual mental health teletherapy and addiction recovery services to all residents of California. Although we’re located in Orange County, our online teletherapy can be accessed throughout the state. In addition to providing addiction recovery services, we treat a variety of mental health issues and offer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). Our teletherapy sessions are done via two-way, live interactive video or by telephone. Therapeutic visits are conducted on Zoom most often, or on other virtual platforms that adhere to HIPAA compliance requirements.