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Mechanisms of Drug Action, Psychopharmacology of Neural Stimulants.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Ted Petit

Mechanisms of Drug Action, Psychopharmacology of Neural Stimulants Thursday, November 08, 2012 8:33 PM  Transmitter Symptoms - how they affect human behaviour  Drug - any chemical you can use and ingest  General Concepts:  Addiction  Tolerance  Withdrawal  How drugs are classified:  Prescription Drugs  Over the Counter Drugs  Laws change over time  Social Drugs - Nicotine, Caffeine, Alcohol  Drugs Not Produced Socially - LSD, Marijuana,  Drugs Not Produced for their Psychoactive Effect - Airplane Glue  Tolerance:  The concept that if a drug is taken repeatedly, most drugs do show a decreasing behavioural effect. (The more you take it, the less effect it has)  If you have drugs which alter a transmitter system - the more you alter a system, the post synaptic side of the system will compensate  The more you stimulate a system it will compensate by reducing the number or sensitivity of receptors  Or if you're using a depressant, the system will compensate by increasing number or sensitivity of receptors  Withdrawal:  If you have been taking the drug for a long period of time and suddenly stopped  Results in a craving for the drug  In general the behavioural effect of withdrawal is exactly the opposite of the effect of the drug itself  If we have reduced receptors/sensitivity -> normal amounts of transmitter will under stimulate the post synaptic cell since it compensated for being over stimulated  Under activation of activity then eventually goes back to normal  OPPOSITE  Taking depressants - increased receptors -  Normal amount of transmitter -> drives activity VERY HIGH --> becomes over stimulated by the over sensitized receptors - can cause seizures , agitation, hyper excitability, even death  Need to take away the psychological aspects of addiction (e.g. cigarettes vs nicotine patches  Alcoholics get valium  Addiction:  The person enjoys and has become dependent on the drug  Different levels - different types  Psychological Addiction - person has become behaviourally dependent on the drug.  The more rapid the effect of a drug, the more addictive it is (same chemical can have diff effects depending on how much and how it is delivered)  Physical Addiction - on withdrawal, when you take the drug away, there have to be measurable physical responses - sweating, galvanic skin response etc  Stimulants:  Classify drugs according to specific categories  Have to activate CNS  Determined by EEG - cortex switches into active state  All inhibit sleep  Caffeine:  Found in coffee and tea  Tolerance - Some does develop but not very great  Stimulates digestive system  Cures headaches  Withdrawal - headaches, constipation  Toxicity -
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