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Drugs and the Nervous System


Drugs and the Nervous System 1. Why study drugs? combat drug abuse combat anxiety, sleeplessness, depression, schizophrenia Good Drugs versus Bad Drugs ? – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Drugs and the Nervous System

Drugs and the Nervous System
  • 1. Why study drugs?
  • combatdrug abuse
  • combatanxiety, sleeplessness, depression,
  • Good Drugs versus Bad Drugs?
  • motivationappropriate or not? Abuse?
  • help us understand mechanisms of the brain and
    how it works on a physiological level

Sources of drugs
  • Plant
  • Tobacco (nicotine)
  • Coffee (caffeine)
  • Poppy (opiates)
  • Coca (cocaine)
  • Cannibis (marajuana)
  • Fungus
  • LSD
  • Specialized Labs
  • Produced in labs
  • Methamphetamine (crystal ice)
  • Ecstacy
  • Many pharmaceutical drugs
  • Many are designer drugs

The chemistry of drugs
Effect neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine
learning and memory, muscle contractions norep
inephrine energy, () emotion, sympathetic
pathway serotonin biological rhythms, sleep,
emotion, mood, pain dopamine desire and
Agonist mimics or increases the effect of the
neurotransmitter Antagonist blocks or takes
away from the effects of a neurotransmitter Affin
ity ability of a drug to bind to a
receptor Efficacy degree to which a drug
activates the receptor, once bound Mixed Agonist
/ Antagonist depends on dose or
amount effectiveness and side effects vary from
one person to anotherthe receptors are
controlled by genes of the individual.
Pleasure chemical
  • Neurotransmitter and hormone
  • Released by hypothalamus
  • Pleasure center for the brain
  • Services sympathetic responses
  • Excess dopamine can lead to psychosis
  • Reinforces, motivates, and increases arousal and
  • Food, sex, drugs, (addiction)

In midbrain (substantia nigra) controlled
muscle movements (Parkinsons) In frontal lobe
attention, creativity, problem solving. (ADD)
  • Neurotransmitter. Receptors found along the
    brainstem (pons)
  • Regulates anger, aggression, mood, sleep,
    appetite, temp. regulation
  • Imbalance can lead to emotional disorders such
  • depression, suicide, impulsive behaviors,
  • To treat depression
  • block the re-uptake of serotonin
  • more serotonin floating around in the
    synapsebetter mood!!

May lead to SIDS low levels in the
brainstembreathing, heart rate, blood pressure
  • Neurotransmitter and hormone
  • Sympathetic pathway chemical
  • arousal, excitement, increase heart rate, blood
  • Adrenaline (fight or flight)

  • Neurotransmitter.
  • Acts in the somatic nervous system to help with
    muscle contraction
  • it is broken down by an enzyme naturally in the
    body. People with Myasthenia Gravis have muscle
    weakness and fatigue. The enzyme can be blocked
    with medication, allowing acetylcholine to work
    longer, consequently increasing muscle strength.
  • Acts in the autonomic nervous system to help
    with learning and memory.
  • found in short amounts in Alzheimer's patients.
  • agonists are used to help treat

(gamma-amino butyric acid)
  • Amino acid that functions as a neurotransmitter.
  • Inhibits neural activityslows things down.
  • With glutamate (metabolism), it is more widely
    present that all other chemicals combined.
    Found in 90 of all synapses!!
  • Because its so widely present, its the reason
    why there are so many side effects to drugs.

  • Amino acid that functions as a neurotransmitter.
  • Major excitatory neurotransmitter in the
    braininvolved in brain plasticity, such as
    learning and memory
  • Plays a central role in metabolism
  • With GABA, it is more widely present that all
    other chemicals combined. Found in 90 of all
  • Because its so widely present, its the reason
    why there are so many side effects to drugs.
  • Effects neural plasticitystrengthen the
    connection between neurons (memory)
  • Neural plasticity leads to addiction.why?

Electrical stimulation
Nucleus accumbens rich in dopamine
receptors. Amygdala emotion Hippocampus
memory VTA pleasure Locus Coeruleus addiction
motivation (increase adrenaline
secretion) Substantia nigra movement
More specifically, drugs can Stop the chemical
reactions that create neurotransmitters. Empty
neurotransmitters from the vesicles where they're
normally stored and protected from breakdown by
enzymes. Block neurotransmitters from entering
or leaving vesicles. Bind to receptors in place
of neurotransmitters. Prevent neurotransmitters
from returning to their sending neuron (the
reuptake system). Interfere with second
messengers, the chemical and electrical changes
that take place in a receiving neuron
  • Increase the activity of the CNS.
  • Mimic the stimulation of the Sympathetic NS
  • Increase behavioral arousal
  • Increase activity at dopamine receptors

  • Cocaine (Charlie, Snow, Coke) comes in the form
    of a white powder made from coca shrub that can
    be eaten, smoked, sniffed or injected
  • Crack (Rock, Stone and Wash) is derived from
    cocaine hydrochloride, it too is white but in the
    form of crystals or rocks the size of raisins
    that are smoked.
  • Increase the release of norepinephrineenergy,
    mood, and () emotion
  • Bind to the transporters usually reserved for
    dopamine and norepinephrine. This causes
    increased levels of these neurotransmitters in
    the synapses.

feeling of invincibility, strength, and
confidence due to a powerful buzz. intense
talking and feelings of well being
high last about 10-15 minutes, disappearing
after 1 hourconsequently repeated doses are
needed to stay highconstant need for more
(expensive to maintain) Anxiety, restlessness,
weight loss, feelings of persecution, tiredness,
hunger, sickness, depression
Dopamine re-uptake system
Dopamine is reabsorbed by membrane
transporters. This frees up the synapse for
more normal everyday functioning of the nervous
system, such as muscle movement and metabolism.
Membrane transporters
Dopamine is re-absorbed into the cell
Mechanism of cocaine
Membrane Transporters
Cocaine is blocking the re-uptake of dopamine.
Therefore, dopamine remains in the synapse and
Common names E, Esky, Snowballs, Doves, New
Yorkers, Burgers, soap, love-drug.
Active chemical MDMA (methylenedioxy
Ecstasy is a pill taken orally, but can be
snorted, and rarely injected Takes effect after
30 minutes and can last for several
hoursconsidered a hallucinogenic
stimulant Originally used as anger management
and marriage counseling medication!
Tingling body feeling and overall feeling of joy
and ecstasycan be accompanied by hallucinations
Urge to dance and overly affectionate with
people Aches, pains, dizziness, panic attacks,
depression, paranoia, insomnia, dehydration and
heat stroke. Respiratory problems and
seizures Linked to deaths in young people.also
,regular use can lead to depleted serotonin which
can lead to chronic depression (serotonin mood)
Mechanism of Ecstasy
Serotonin is contained in vesicles in the
cell. Ecstasy mimics serotonin is easily
absorbed by the transporters. It then confuses
the cell and causes it to push serotonin OUT of
the cell. Serotonin is now in excess in the
synapse and over-stimulates the cell.
Membrane transporters
Common names Adderoll Bennies, Black
beauties, Dexies, Jollies, Speed, Uppers,
Ups, Wake ups.
The drug comes in the form of colored or
off-white powder and is packaged in a 'wrap' made
from an envelope of folded paper. It can be taken
by snorting or, swallowing, drunk e.g. with juice
or by injecting.
Person feels more confident, talkative and
cheerfulelevated mood Used to stay awake,
energy, focus, enhanced motivation (dance
stimulant) Need to eat or sleep is
diminished Causes excessive release of nor
epinephrine from storage sites in PNS, and causes
an increase in dopamine release. Mimic the
effects of norepinephrineincrease mood and
  • Methamphetamine (Ice)
  • Use as alternative to cocaine. Found as a
    crystalline salt and a has appearance of
    sheet-like crystal. Similar effect as cocaine,
    but last for hours. 90 of users become
  • Inhibits the re-uptake of dopamine and
    epinephrine, therefore increasing the time those
    chemicals spend in the system.

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Consumed in the form of cigarettes, cigars,
pipes, chewing, or sniffed in the form of snuff.
Approximately 30 of people aged 16 or over
regularly smoke. Most Tobacco is smoked in the
form of cigarettes
Cigarette smoke contains various substances such
as nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide and other
gases. Some of these substances are absorbed by
the lungs. Nicotine is the active addictive of
cigarette smoking as it builds up in the body.
The effects decline soon after stopping. As a
consequence the user may be left wanting more
after only a short time
Heart disease, Lung cancer, Heart attack,
Emphysema Highly addictive Withdrawal symptoms
include irritability, restlessness, depression
Increased risk of miscarriage or fetal defect if
pregnant mother smokes
Attaches to nicotinic receptors and increases
dopamine release in nucleus accumbens.
Anabolic Steroids
Pharmaceutical examples Durabolin, Stanozol,
Derived from hormones which occur naturally in
the human body and are responsible for the
development and function of the reproductive
organs. Most synthetic anabolic steroids on the
market are derived from human testosterone,
however some are intended for use on animals and
should not be used on humans.
Users report that steroids help them recover more
easily from strenuous exercise. It has also
controversially been claimed that steroids
enhance athletic performance Aggression Shunted
growth in young people Increased blood
pressure Abnormalities in body development
Found in coffee, tea, chocolate, sports drinks,
  • The action of caffeine is to block the
    neurotransmitter adenosine (caffeine acts as an
  • Antagonism of adenosine receptors by caffeine
    would appear to promote neurotransmitter release
    of epinephrine, thus explaining the stimulatory
    effects of caffeine

Constricts blood vessels in brain abstention
results in headache and restlessness due to
increased blood flow Long term effects or damage
are inconclusive
  • Suppresses the activity of the central nervous
  • Activates the neurotransmitter GABA which is
    responsible for calming the CNS and promoting
  • dangerous because it slows breathing, heart rate
    and other vital functions.

Common names H, Smack, Junk, Gear, Brown,
Lady, white girl, horse, black tar, brown sugar,
goods, Harry
Opiate family Morphine, Oxycontin, Vicodan,
Percocet, Codeine Methadone, Demerol, Fentanyl
  • Can be sniffed, smoked (chasing the dragon), or
    the powder can be dissolved in water and
  • Injection is most effective and quickest (few
    seconds) high, but also most dangerous overdose
    potential. Also, risk of disease (HIV/Hepatitis)
    and infection is high.
  • Heroin depresses the brain activity including
    reflexes like coughing, breathing, and heart rate
    (overdose can lead to cessation of vital reflexes

Effects of Heroin
  • Stimulate the release of natural endorphins in
    the brain
  • Heroin also blocks the release of Substance P
    from the brain stem and spinal cord. Substance P
    is responsible for transmitting pain signals.
  • Inhibits the release of neurotransmitter GABA,
    which limits dopamine release. Since GABA can no
    longer regulate it, dopamine is released in huge
  • It takes a long time for the body to replenish
    the dopamine, so the high is replaced by a
    tremendous low due to depleted dopamine levels.
  • Over time, an addict can damage dopamine
    releasing cells, causing extreme lows and chronic
  • slowed and slurred speech, slow gait,
    constricted pupils, droopy eyelids, impaired
    night vision,
  • warm flushing of the skin, a dry mouth, and
    heavy extremities sweating, Regular use tends to
    lead to poor health due to bad diet and chaotic
    lifestyle. Women user's menstrual cycle may be
  • drug craving, restlessness, muscle and bone
    pain, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting, cold
    flashes with goose bumps ("cold turkey"), kicking
    movements, jitters, cramps, constipation,
    collapsed blood vessels.
  • Brain disintegration in chronic users

Dopamine Inhibitors
Dopamine inhibitors attach to receptors and block
dopamine release. This allows the cell to
function normally.
Dopamine inhibitors (GABA)
Mechanism of Heroin
Heroin blocks the inhibitors
Inhibitors cannot get out and inhibit dopamine
Dopamine is now free to flow into the synapse.
Dopamine inhibitors
  • Barbiturates (Barbs, Downers, Quaaludes) calm
    people down and in higher doses act as sleeping
  • binds to receptors in medullainterfere with
    breathing. Heart-rate. Overdose death.
  • They come in a wide variety of different colored
    tablets and capsules of various shapes and sizes,
    bearing various trade names and markings. They
    are usually taken orally, but may be injected.
    Only prescribed for treating severe insomnia.
  • A small dose makes the user feel relaxed and a
    larger dose puts the user to sleep. The effects
    are exaggerated by taking alcohol and results in

Categories Anti-anxiety. Anti-depressant,
Tranquilizers, (reduces emotional tension) Xanax,
Ativan, Valium, Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft Inhibit
the re-uptake of serotonin (sleep, mood, emotion)
so the chemical is more readily available at the
  • Alcoholic drinks consist of ethyl or ethanol
    alcohol and water. Alcohol is produced by the
    fermentation of grains or vegetables. Beer
    contains about 1 part alcohol to 20 parts water,
    wine is 2-4 times as strong as beer and spirits
    are even stronger.
  • Beer and wine drinking almost certainly predate
    recorded history and are an integral part of
    everyday life
  • Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream and
    starts to take effect within five to ten minutes.
  • Effects GABA (inhibitory) and GLUTAMATE
    (excitatory) neurotransmitters.
  • Activates the dopamine driven pleasure pathway.
  • De-activates connections to the frontal
    lobecauses disinhibition.
  • alcohol affects the pituitary gland that controls
    the flow of water released by the body as
    urineresults in dehydration and leads to a
  • Alcohol is packed with calories one gin and tonic
    contains the same amount as a bowl of ice cream
    so consistent use can lead to noticeable weight
  • gastric and liver damage
  • 116 billion industry in the USA (3 billion in
    marketing alone!!)
  • Average consumption is 20 gallons per year

GABA is the bodys primary inhibitory
It prevents a neuron from firing by clogging up
the transporters.
ALCOHOL helps GABA with its inhibitory effects
Therefore further preventing a neuron from
firing. Thats why it is a depressant.
GLUTAMATE is the bodys primary excitatory
It causes a neuron to fire.
ALCOHOL prevents glutamate from exciting the
cell, and consequently has sedative effects.
It causes a neuron NOT to fireand another reason
why alcohol is a depressant!
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  • Distort perception
  • Crossing overhearing colors and seeing
  • Alters conscious, and causes psychosis (lose
    contact with reality)
  • One of the oldest drugs used by man.

Common Names marijuana, dope, grass, blow, puff,
hash, ganja, Buddha, wacky tobacky, chronic, Mary
Jane, skunk
Active ingredient THC tetrahydrocannabinol
Cannabinoid receptors in brain areas that
influence pleasure, memory, thought,
concentration, sensory and time perception, and
coordinated movement THC attaches to cannabinoids
receptors in the hippocampus and consequently
disrupts memory, motivation, mood, and learning.
It also interferes with the limbic systemcauses
emotional changes ranging from uncontrollable
laughter to paranoia.
Considered a hallucinogenic stimulant and also
has sedative effects. Users may feel more
talkative, more relaxed, experience a sense of
well being and being stoned (heightened
perception) often mentally distancing them from
their surroundings. Mild hallucinations and
strong feelings of affection may occur. Skunk is
a new strain of Cannabis that is extremely potent
causing very strong hallucinogenic
experiences paranoia, panic attacks, mood swings,
sleeping problems, short term memory loss and
reduced concentration No receptors in the
brainstem no effect on heartbeat Gateway drug
Chemical name Lysergic Acid Diethylamide Common
name Acid, Trips, Tabs, Blotter, Doses
Most common psychedelic drug. Derived from a
fungus infecting rye
Often LSD is added to absorbent paper, such as
blotter paper, and divided into small, decorated
squares, with each square representing one dose
Used during the Cold War as truth serum during
CIA interrogations Beatles song Lucy in the Sky
with Diamonds Mimics serotonin because LSD
resembles serotonin in chemical structure users
experience severe, terrifying thoughts and
feelings, fear of losing control, fear of
insanity and death, and despair while using LSD.
Some fatal accidents have occurred during states
of LSD intoxication. Sensations may seem to
"cross over," giving the user the feeling of
hearing colors and seeing sounds. These changes
can be frightening and can cause panic. Highs
can last as long as 12 hoursaddiction to LSD
does not occur. User may have flashbacks and
bad trips where depression, schizophrenia, and
psychosis have been recorded
Common names shrooms, magic mushrooms,
mushies Chemical name Psilocybe Semilanceata
Look like dried mushrooms and are usually eaten.
Can be brewed and consumed as tea and sometimes
cooked. Agonists to neurotransmitters GABA and
glutamic acid and effect hippocampus, cerebral
cortex, and cerebellum
Nausea is a common effect. Causes distorted
perceptions of touch, sight, sound and taste.
Other effects can include nervousness and
paranoia. Effects can be different during each
use due to varying potency, the amount ingested,
and the user's expectations, mood, surroundings,
and frame of mind. On some trips, users
experience sensations that are enjoyable. Others
can include terrifying thoughts, and anxiety,
fears of insanity, death, or losing control.
Poisoning can result in vomiting, diarrhea,
stomach cramps, loss of consciousness and
convulsions and death
Chemical name Phencyclidine Common Name
angel dust, ozone, wack, rocket fuel
Act by altering distribution of the
neurotransmitter glutamate throughout the brain.
Glutamate is involved in a person's perception of
pain, responses to the environment, and
memory. Effects PCP is a "dissociative drug,"
meaning that it distorts perceptions of sight and
sound and produces feelings of detachment
(dissociation) from the environment and self
Intoxicated individuals may act in an
unpredictable fashion, driven by their delusions
or hallucinations. Included in the portfolio of
behavioral disturbances are acts of self-injury
including suicide, and attacks on others or
destruction of property
Endocrine System
1. _____________________ ________________________
____ 2. ____________________ ____________________
________ ______________________ 3.
____________________ ___________________________
_ 4. ____________________ ______________________
______ 5. ____________________
____________________________ 6.
____________________ ___________________________
_ 7. ____________________ ______________________
______ ______________________ 8.
____________________ ______________________
1. Pineal Body Melatonin patterns of wake and
sleep 2. Pituitary Master gland. Stimulates
other glands Oxytocin uterine contractions
during labor, birth, breastfeeding Prolactin
stimulates milk production after birth in
females Vasopressin water retention, constrict
blood vessels 3. Thyroid Controlled by
pituitary and hypothalamus. Determines how
quickly energy is burned by body Thyroxin
controls rate of metabolism 4. Thymus Immune
system stimulant 5. Adrenal Sympathetic
response Adrenaline (epinephrine)stimulates
fight or flight 6. Pancreas aids in digestion of
food Pancreatic juice contains many digestive
enzymes 7. Ovaries female reprodcutive
organ Estrogen sex characteristics, regulates
menstration Progesterone maintains uterus
during pregnancy 8. Testes Male reproductive
organ testosterone male sex characteristics
produce sperm
5 signs of dependence 1. Time thinking about
it 2. Doing more each time 3. Desire to
stop 4. Withdrawal symptoms 5. Tolerance
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