PSYC 1200 Lecture 4b
Chapter 5: Waking Influences on Conscious Experience, Drugs & Hypnosis
Drugs Recreational use of mind-altering drugs occurs because their effect on the brain promotes:
Feelings of euphoria
Drugs use is bad because:
Illegal drugs have effects that can be life-threatening at high doses and when used regularly over long periods of
The quality of drugs is often unregulated and they may contain poisonous impurities.
Illegal drugs may encourage the user to engage in violent, disruptive behaviour
Drug consumption may play a role in a parents neglecting or abusing their children.
People may develop an addiction to drugs, which may cause major damage to their life.
War on drugs biases:
Some drugs are dangerous because they are illegal, rather than being illegal merelybecause they are dangerous.
Evidence for the danger posed by illegal drugs is based on high doses and chronic use; not occasional use.
The majority of illegal drug users take them moderately; they don’t become hooked after one dosage.
The drug most associated with the most violence and child abuse is the consumption of alcohol.
It can be the drug, the person, or their situation that is to blame for dangerous behaviours.
Other activities that are not illegal can be addictive and can have similar negative consequences
Drug addicts have unhealthy lifestyles, so it is unclear whether deaths by drug users are caused solely by the drug use
or by a combination of drug use and health problems caused by other influences.
Doing drugs does not kill brain cells or tissue directly; they kill brain tissue by blocking arteries in circulatory system that
pump blood into the brain.
Psychoactive Drugs Drugs that effect conscious experience and behaviour by effecting processes in the brain
Some may be used legally, others not; includes tobacco, marijuana, alcohol, LSD, opium, heroin, cocaine, caffeine, Prozac, Ritalin.
Stimulants A type of psychoactive drug that produces a sense of euphoria and excitement by speeding up nervous system activity.
Consequences: Too much leads to convulsions, heart failure and death because it places a strain on your heart and can
dangerously increase body temperature.
e.g. amphetamines, nicotine, cocaine, caffeine, methamphetamine hydrochloride (crystal meth), ecstasy.
Cocaine A stimulant that increases physiological and mental arousal by maintaining high amounts of dopamine and norepinephrine.
Chronic use in high doses can lead to paranoia and delusions, insomnia, impotence, and cardiovascular problems.
Most deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes.
Depressants A type of psychoactive drug that produces a sense of calmness and inhibition by slowing down activity in the central nervous
Consequences: Too much can dangerously stop heart and breathing rate.
e.g. tranquilizers such as Valium, alcohol
Alcohol A depressant that decreases physiological and mental arousal and reduces inhibitions by maintaining high amounts of dopamine
and GABA. GABA is important for inhibiting actions that you want to engage in, but shouldn’t do.
Impairs judgment, coordination, reaction time and in high doses may lead to fatigue, nausea, and depression
Long-term chronic use is linked to heart disease, strokes, liver dysfunction, and brain damage.
Opiates A type of psychoactive drug that relieves pain and produces a sense of euphoria by suppressing brain function.
Morphine and codeine are prescribed pain killers; doctor’s use morphine to allow a dying patient pass away peacefully.
Consequences: Too much can shut down important body functions (e.g. heartbeat).
e.g. heroin, morphine, codeine, opium
Heroin An opiate that decreases the nervous system activity and lowers sensitivity to pain by mimicking endorphins.
Can be addictive, but most negative effects of chronic use are indirect (e.g. high cost, impurities, users are marginalized).
Consequences: Excessive dosages can lead to death via heart attack/respiratory shutdown.
Psychedelic Drugs A type of psychoactive drug that alters normal perceptual experience produces hallucinations.
May encourage dangerous behaviour.
Excessive amounts may cause permanent brain damage or may fatally damage the heart.
e.g. lisergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin found in magic mushrooms
LSD A psychedelic drug that increases brain stimulation by increasing activity in receptors for the neurotransmitter serotonin.
In moderate doses, it is probably most dangerous while tripping, but chronic use may lead one’s perspective to be altered long-term.
Serotonin is involved in schizophrenia; therefore, LSD is considered to mimic schizophrenia.
Marijuana Alters perceptual experience like psychedelic drugs, but hallucinations are even with very large doses.
It is like a stimulant because it can cause feelings of euphoria.
It is like a depressant because it makes people relaxed and sleepy.
Learning, thinking, and memory are impaired while under the influence of marijuana, but there is no consistent evidence that long-
term use of marijuana has long-term effects on learning, thinking, and memory.
Effects of Drug Use on Drugs affect conscious experience by increasing or decreasing how much of a neurotransmitter is around to influence the activity of
the Brain neurons
Evidence is lacking to suggest that psychoactive drugs on their own have a negative impact on the brain at low or moderate doses.
Chronic use of many drugs can have a lasting negative impact on the brain.
Tolerance For many drugs increasingly higher doses are necessary to produce the same effect, which could lead to consuming dangerously