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PSYC62H3 Lecture Notes - Combat Stress Reaction, Ibogaine, Mood Stabilizer

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Suzanne Erb

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PSYC62 Lecture 1
Midterm-35% (multiple choice)
Final Exam-45%(multiple choice, cumulative)
Writing Assignment-20%(4-5 page essay, can work with up to a maximum of three people)
Pharmacology vs. Psychopharmacology
Pharmacology: Examines the effects that drugs have on biological systems(includes nervous and non-
nervous tissue). Looks at how the body reacts to drugs, nature, and how drugs move through the body
(known as pharmakinetics).
Psychopharmacology: Looks at the effects that drugs have on behavior and mental processes, including
cognitions and emotions. It focuses on the interactions with nerve cells and receptors.
Psychopharmacology is the subdiscipline of pharmacology.
What is a Drug?
Difficult to define specifically, instead there are many definitions given:
A substance used in a medication or in the preparation of medication
A substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of
Something and often an illegal substance, that causes addiction, habituation, or a marked
change in consciousness
A substance that affects the structure or function of the body
A good definition: A substance or chemical that, when injested/injected for the purpose of altering
biological function, affects one or more biological processes
However, any endogenous chemical can affect bodily function and biological systems. In some cases,
drugs can be extracted and synthesized in order to reverse certain psychological/neurological disorders.
Example: L-DOPA, known to be used clinically to treat Parkinson ’s disease
Psychoactive Drugs: Chemicals that induce psychological effects by altering the normal biochemical that
takes place in the nervous system.
Historical Perspective
Humans have used drugs for the purposes of altering mood and behavior for thousands of years. Many
plants have been known to produce hallucinogens, suggests ancestors must have experimented.
Ancient practices included using cocaine extracted from cocoa leaves to combat fatigue and
elevate mood.
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