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Psychopharmacology of Drug Action, Depressants, Opiates and Hallucinogens.docx

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Ted Petit

Psychopharmacology of Drug Action, Depressants, Opiates and Hallucinogens Monday, November 12, 2012 1:03 PM  Depressants  Generally categorized into Barbiturates, Non-Barbiturates (everything else) and Alcohol  Barbiturates:  Classification of drugs usually used to help people sleep or relax  Work through GABA  GABA - Primary inhibitory amino acid neurotransmitter  Whenever you increase GABA, then you slow things down  Barbiturates bind to GABA -receptors in the brain  Tends to decrease excitability in the brain  Also synergistic with other sedatives/sedative hypnotics and anxiolytic drugs (Valium) as well as anticonvulsants  Synergistic - at the minimum , if you put them together they are additive - if you take a barbiturate and one beer -> equivalent to having 3 beers . (they multiply the effects of each other)  Used primarily to induce sleep  Biggest group they were used for was the elderly  Also causes a problem because people spend less time in REM sleep  Withdrawal - convulsions (seizures), (can administer other depressants to help them through the withdrawal e.g. alcohol)  When you take someone off a depressant you substitute another depressant  Alcohol  CNS depressant  Produced by yeast digesting sugar and excreting alcohol  Largest admissions to mental hospitals (40%)  Also accounts for 55% of all arrests  Accounts to 50-75% of all murders  50% of driver's deaths  20-30% of all suicides  January 1920-1933 test period - Prohibition  Initially there was a drop in all alcohol related problems  By 1930 all those numbers were right back up  Other problems as well (in addition)  Instead of making ethyl alcohol - they were making or contaminating batches with methyl alcohol  Methyl alcohol leads to permanent blindness or death  Eventually decided Prohibition wasn't worth it  Lesson - if people really want a drug, they will find a way to get it  Using education now rather than banning drugs  Physiology:  Metabolism - absorbed directly through the stomach wall right into blood stream  Very high source of energy - 200 cal/oz 7 cal/gram  Fastest sources of energy that we know of  Cannot enter any metabolic pathway whereby it cannot be converted into fat  Can also cause the brain to decrease ADH production  Causes you to excrete fluids  Can lead to dehydration  Does have some effect on GABA receptors - probably works on metabolism or through membrane excitability (might change the sodium crap thingy)  Probably a mixture of the three  Dose dependent :  Low doses (1-2 drinks) - causes a dis-inhibition of the cortex - arousal state. Seems to depress inhibitory centers in the brain stem  Increases firing rate in cortex  As the levels increase have a direct effect on the cortex (the cerebellum etc) - the CNS is depressed  From arousal state to a sloppy state  Eventually depression activity in the medulla  It can eventually kill you  Alcoholics -  Causes atrophy in the brain particularly in the dendrites in the cortex and cerebellum  Atrophy can be sufficiently bad that you can pick it up on a cat scan  Withdrawal: People with high level -  Hallucinations, tremors, convulsions or seizures and possibly death  As severe and likely to cause death as people coming off of heroin  Tolerance does increase (more enzymes in liver)  May be some brain mechanism but not certain Alcohol and Pregn
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