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Lecture 12

PSY 2301 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Endothelium, Sedative, Benzodiazepine

Course Code
PSY 2301
Andra Smith

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How Do Drugs and Hormones Influence the Brain and Behavior?
Focus on New Research: Neural Basis of Drug Cravings
Principles of Psychopharmacology
Classification of Psychoactive Drugs
Drugs, Experience, Context, and Genes
Principle of Psychopharmacology
Study of how drugs affect the nervous system and behaviour
Chemical compounds administered to produce a desired change in
the body
Psychoactive Drug
Substance that acts to alter mood, thought, or behaviour and is
used to manage neuropsychological illness
Drugs Routes into the Nervous System
Routes of Drug Administration
Oral administration is the safest, easiest, and most common route
But oral administration is also the most complex as there are more
barriers that the drug must cross to have its desired effect
Other methods, such as inhalation or injection, produce much faster
effects as there are fewer barriers for the drug to pass
Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB)
Helps prevent most substances, including drugs, from entering the
brain via the bloodstream
Endothelial cells in capillaries located throughout the body are not
tightly joined, so it is easy for substances to move into and out of
the bloodstream
In contrast, endothelial cells in the brain are tightly joined and the
presence of astrocytes help keep most substances out
Small, uncharged molecules (e.g., oxygen and carbon dioxide) are fat
soluble and can freely cross the BBB
Larger, charged molecules (e.g., glucose, amino acids, fats) must be
actively transported across the BBB
Difficulty developing drugs for the brain
They must be small and uncharged or they must be structurally similar to
a substance that already has an active transporter that allows it to pass
the BBB
Elimination of Drugs
Drugs are broken down in the kidneys, liver, and intestines
Drugs are then excreted in urine, feces, sweat, breast milk, and
exhaled air
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Some substances that cannot be removed may build-up in the body
and become toxic
Individual Differences in Drug Response
Factors that influence drug responsiveness:
o Older individuals are more sensitive to drugs
o Less effective barriers and less effective at eliminating drugs
Body Size:
o Smaller individuals are more sensitive to drugs
o Fewer body fluids to dilute drugs
o Females are more sensitive to drugs
o Smaller than men on average
Drug Action at Synapses
Most psychoactive drugs exert their effects by influencing chemical
reactions at synapses
Substance that ENHANCES the function of a synapse
Substance that BLOCKS the function of a synapse
Drugs can alter chemical processes at any of seven major stages of
synaptic transmission
1. Synthesis
2. Storage
3. Release
4. Receptor Interaction
5. Inactivation
6. Reuptake
7. Degradation
Classification of Psychoactive Drugs
One can classify a drug by it’s most pronounced behavioural or
psychoactive effect
Sedative Hypnotics and Antianxiety Agents
Antipsychotic Agents
Mood Stabilizers
Narcotic Analgesics
Psychomotor Stimulants
Psychedelics and Hallucinogens
Antianxiety Agents and Sedative Hypnotics
Produce sedation and sleep (e.g., alcohol)
Can also produce general anesthesia, coma, and death
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