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Psychoactive Drugs.

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Presentation on theme: "Psychoactive Drugs."— Presentation transcript:

1 Psychoactive Drugs

2 Psychoactivity and Dependence

3 Psychoactive Drug A chemical substance that alters perceptions, mood, or behavior Three common psychoactive drugs: Caffeine Alcohol Nicotine Induce an altered state of consciousness

4 Common Properties of Addiction
Physical dependence Tolerance Withdrawal symptoms Drug rebound effect

5 Drug Abuse Recurrent drug use that results in disruption of academic, social, or occupational functioning or in legal or psychological problems

6 Dependence A state of physiological and/or psychological need to take more of a substance after continued use. Withdrawal follows if the drug is discontinued

7 Tolerance Reduced responsiveness to a drug, prompting the user to increase the dosage to achieve effects previously obtained by lower doses of the drug

8 Tolerance

9 Withdrawal The discomfort and distress that follow when a person who is dependent on a drug discontinues the use of the drug Withdrawal symptoms are usually the opposite of the drug’s effects – Drug Rebound Effect

10 Why do people abuse drugs? Biopsychosocial Theory

11 Drugs and Neurotransmission

12 Neurotransmission The process whereby neurons communicate with each other Neurotransmission, especially in the brain and spinal cord, helps explain the effects of psychoactive drugs. Psychoactive drugs interfere with normal neurotransmission.

13 Neurotransmitters Chemical messengers that cross synaptic gaps between neurons When released by the sending neuron, neurotransmitters travel across the synapse and bind to receptor sites on the receiving neuron, setting up the next link in the chain of communication.

14 Synapse The junction between the tip of the sending neuron and the receptor sites on the receiving neuron Call the synaptic gap or cleft

15 Neural Activity

16 Neurotransmitters and the Synapse

17 Reuptake Process where the unused neurotransmitter chemical is reabsorbed by the sending neuron

18 Reuptake

19 Psychoactive Drugs and Synapses
Psychoactive drugs affect synapses and neurotransmitters in three ways: Binding with receptor sites (mimics)* Blocking receptor site Blocking neurotransmitters’ reuptake* * Increase the likelihood of the receiving neuron firing


21 Drug Classifications

22 Four Psychoactive Drug Categories
Four different categories we will study: Depressants – depress, inhibit brain activity Opiates – Similar to morphine, produce feelings of euphoria & reduce pain Stimulants – excite brain activity Psychedelic/Hallucinogens/Marijuana – distort sensory perceptions. Designer “Club” Drugs – “fifth category” that includes variety of psychoactive drugs.

23 Drug Classifications: Depressants

24 Depressants Drugs that reduce neural activity and slow body functioning Includes alcohol and sedatives

25 Depressants Alcohol—CNS depressant Barbiturates—induce sleep
Tranquilizers—relieve anxiety

26 Alcohol (ethyl alcohol)
Found in beer, wine, and liquor The second most used psychoactive drug (caffeine first) Slows thinking, and impairs physical activity

27 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)
A measure of how much alcohol is in a person’s bloodstream BAC of .08 considered legal intoxication in most states

28 DiscPsy p.153

29 What do we mean by “one drink?”
One 12-ounce can of beer has about the same amount of alcohol as 4 ounces of wine or 1 ounce of whiskey

30 Euphoric Affects of Alcohol
Alcohol impairs the parts of the brain responsible for controlling inhibitions and making judgments Results in less self-control and sometimes more aggressive behavior. Also depends on environment and expectations.

31 Alcohol, Memory, and Sleep
Studies have shown that alcohol impairs memory by suppressing the processing of events into long term memory. Alcohol impairs REM sleep, further disrupting memory storage. Also impairs speech and physical functioning. Death can occur if the brain’s respiratory center can no longer function.

32 Alcohol’s Affect on the Brain
Alcoholism shrinks the brain



35 Sedatives Drugs that reduce anxiety or induce sleep
Also called tranquilizers Include barbiturates and benzodiazepines

36 Barbiturates Drugs that depress the activity of the central nervous system and thereby reduce anxiety Can be lethal in overdose and interact with other drugs, especially alcohol Impair both memory and judgment Can create tolerance and physical & mental dependence Withdrawal can cause REM rebound nightmares, hallucinations, disorientation and even life-threatening convulsions.

37 Benzodiazepines/Tranquilizers
Drugs that depress that activity of the central nervous system without most of the side effects associated with barbiturates Help to reduce anxiety Include Valium and Xanax Can create dependency

38 Inhalants Chemicals that are inhaled to alter consciousness.
Paint, glue, gasoline, nitrous oxide & aerosol sprays. Low doses may relax and reduce inhibition High doses can cause hallucinations and loss of consciousness. Toxic to the liver and other organs.

39 Addiction and Depressants
Play “Depressants and Their Addictive Effect on the Brain” (4:24) Segment #22 from The Mind: Psychology Teaching Modules (2nd edition). How does withdrawal occur? What’s happening to the neurons of an addict? How are these drugs suppressing the nervous system?

40 Drug Classifications: Opiates

41 Opiates/Narcotics Drugs that depress neural activity, temporarily lessen pain and anxiety and produce feelings of euphoria Include: opium, morphine, and heroin

42 Endorphins Natural, opiate-like neurotransmitters linked to pain control and to pleasure Body’s natural pain killers

43 Morphine Strong sedative and pain-relieving drug derived from opium
Works by preventing pain neurons from firing or releasing pain-signaling neurotransmitters (Substance P) into the synapse

44 Other Opiates Chemically similar to morphine and have strong pain-relieving properties Mimic the brain’s endorphins Heroin, methadone Percodan, Demerol

45 Drug Classifications: Stimulants

46 Stimulants Drugs that excite neural activity and speed up body functions Include: caffeine, nicotine, amphetamines, and cocaine All are at least mildly addictive.

47 Caffeine Stimulant found in coffee, chocolate, tea, and some soft drinks Provides user with a sense of increased energy, mental alertness, and forced wakefulness Blocks neurological receptor sites that if activated, sedate the central nervous system Withdrawal symptoms are sleepiness, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, increased heart rate.

48 Nicotine Stimulant found in tobacco
Effects similar to those of caffeine – reduces fatigue & drowsiness and increases mental alertness Affects various areas in the brain affecting mood, attention & arousal Very addictive and does not stay in the body very long See video clip on nicotine addiction.

49 Cocaine Stimulant derived from leaves of the coca plant
Crack – cocaine crystals Blocks the reuptake of certain neurotransmitters Dependency is quick and severe; places extreme strain on cardiovascular system See the story of Len Bias (4 min) Can cause cocaine psychosis – schizophrenia-like symptoms including auditory hallucinations & paranoia, “cocaine bugs” or tactile hallucinations

50 How Cocaine Works

51 Amphetamines Drugs that stimulate neural activity, speeding up body functions, with associated energy and mood changes Includes: speed, uppers, and methamphetamines Mimic adrenaline Can cause irreversible changes in mood & function by reducing dopamine receptors & transporters. Withdrawal causes fatigue, deep sleep, intense depression, increase in appetite.

52 Drug Classifications: Hallucinogens

53 Hallucinogens/Psychedelic Drugs
Drugs that distort perceptions and evoke sensory images in the absence of sensory input Include: LSD, Mescaline and Marijuana

54 Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)
Powerful hallucinogenic drug Also known as “acid” The effects vary from person to person Users can be dangerous to themselves and others. Similar to neurotransmitter, serotonin. Flashbacks, psychotic reactions can occur.

55 Hallucinogen Affect Hallucination - like patterns Geometric forms, similar to those experienced by drug users during drug - induced hallucinations, can be seen in the embroidery of the Huichol. These Mexican Indians used peyote, from which the hallucinogen mescaline derives.

56 Marijuana Leaves, stems, resin, and flowers form the hemp plant
When smoked, lower inhibitions and produce feelings of relaxation and mild euphoria THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is the active ingredient. Receptors in the brain for anandamide also accept THC Disrupts memory; lung damage from smoke Withdrawal may cause insomnia, tremors and decreased appetite. Is helpful in decreasing nausea and reducing effects of glaucoma.

57 “Club” Drugs Ecstasy (MDMA)—feelings of euphoria, increased well-being. Side effects—dehydration, hyperthermia, tremor, rapid heartbeat

58 Ecstasy Hallucinogenic drug that produces lower inhibitions, pleasant feelings, and greater acceptance of others Also called MDMA Blocks serotonin reuptake prolonging its “good” feeling Even moderate users may experience permanent brain damage to serotonin nerve endings & even memory and verbal reasoning problems up to a year later. Dehydration, rapid heartbeat, tremors, muscle tension, teeth clenching & high body temp can result.

59 Other “Club” Drugs: Dissociative Anesthetics
Dissociative anesthetics—include PCP and Ketamine. Deaden pain, produce stupor or coma, may induce hallucinations Create feelings of dissociation & depersonalization PCP or angel dust, ketamine Effects of “trips” differ for each person Can result in hyperthermia (high body temp), convulsions & death. Affects neurotransmitter glutamate causing a release of more dopamine in the brain. Highly addictive. Long term effects can be memory loss and depression.


61 Prevention

62 High School Drug Use (Johnston & others, 2002)

63 Treatment Play “Treating Drug Addiction: A Behavioral Approach” (19:40) Segment #30 from The Mind: Psychology Teaching Modules (2nd edition). Watch if time allows. What become “triggers” for addicts? How do addicts’ bodies react to “triggers?” Describe how this treatment works. Describe what withdrawal/addiction is like? What do brain scans show about addicts’ brains?

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