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PSYB65H3 (519)
Ted Petit (310)
Lecture 8

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Ted Petit

Friday, November 16, 2012 12:49 AM Depressants: 4:00 Generally categorized into 1. Barbiturates Usually used to help people sleep Works at GABA receptors GABA: Primary inhibitory amino acid neurotransmitter in the brain Increase GABA: we slow things down Barbiturates will bind to the GABA receptors in the brain Will inhibit and decrease excitability in the brain Primarily used to induce sleep Also synergistic with other sedative hypnotics Sedatives - makes us tired Synergistic: if we put the two drugs together, they are additive Not independent Barbiturate + beer is like drinking 3 beers May in fact multiply the effect Mixing barbiturates and alcohol is extremely dangerous - potentially lethal Basically shuts down brain  Also synergistic with anxiolytic drugs: drugs that calm us down Valium Taking away anxiety  Also synergistic with Anti-convulsants We are trying to stop seizures Trying to slow it down  All of these mechanisms are those by which we slow down these neurons Traditionally the biggest group that used these drugs were the elderly As one gets older: the sleep cycle is very erratic Waking up at odd times and cannot get back to sleep Often interrupted in REMS Without this sleep, they wake up very discombobulated Very common in 60s and beyond They may be the ones dependent on it Withdrawal: Since this is one of the strongest depressants we have, when we come off it we will be likely to get seizures and convulsions If we have been on it for a couple of years We never take someone directly off depressants unless we are replacing it with something else Can even give alcohol, since it would help them through the withdrawal 2. Non-barbiturates 3. Alcohol CNS Depressant Produced by yeast digesting sugar and excreting alcohol Alcohol is a form of excrement Problems: Most devastating, negative drug in a society like ours No drug that even remotely comes close to the damage it can cause in society Largest admissions to mental hospitals 40% of all patients are alcoholics in these psychiatric wards Single largest group of people are alcoholics 55% of all arrests involve alcohol in one of the parties 50% of all automobile related deaths - one of the parties was drunk 50-75% of all homicides, murders involve alcohol 20-30% of all suicides - people were drinking Any intelligent person: would say that alcohol needs to be outlawed Just looking at numbers There was a period of Prohibition. Existed in US from 1920-1933 Social Psychology: Prohibit the sale of alcohol Just because it is against the law does not mean they cannot buy it (Same as weed today) - Reality. Speakeasies. Would put Bacardi, moonshine in drinks Initially there was a drop in all of the alcohol related problems By 1930, all of those numbers were back up to where they were before prohibition Other problems now too No government monitoring - no idea what was in the alcohol Instead of making ethyl alcohol (drinkable) they were making methyl alcohol (blindness or lethal) Young people were having more problems Eventually they decided it was not worth it They repealed the law in 1933 Real Lesson: If people really want a drug they will find a way to get it, at least in a society like ours where there is so much freedom Response by Government: Instead of take it away, educate the population and put it through regulations. Learning the side effects and realize consequences of what they are doing Marijuana has been legalized in certain states: Colorado Cannot just be a drug since it is outlawed It just exists and are people having problems with it Physiology: Absorbed directly through the stomach wall Most prominent one: most other chemicals have to be broken down Alcohol just passes right through into the bloodstream Very high source of energy: 200 calories per ounce / 7 calories per gram One of the fastest sources of energy we know Cannot enter any metabolic pathway where it gets stored as fat - But, when we eat food with the alcohol, the alcohol gets used up for the energy and the food will get stored That is why we get beer bellies - just alcohol alone would not get us fat Decrease ADH (like caffeine) Double negative - causes us to pee more often (Excrete more fluids) More fluid will actually come out than go in - Dehydration In part what leads to hangover is drinking lots of fluid CNS: We do not fully understand how it works Partially through affecting GABA receptor activity Probably works on metabolism (increase) while others suggest it works through membrane excitability Behavioural effects: Definitely dose dependent 1-2 drinks : Double negative. It causes a disinhibition of the cortex. The cortex will shift into an arousal state It appears to depressing inhibitory centers Increasing firing rate in the cortex Feeling good, chatty Reasonably low level of alcohol As alcohol levels increase, they have a direct depressant effect on the brain Cerebellum , cortex People get sloppy, slurring their words Switch to what is actually a CNS Depressant Enough: slows down medulla Can actually kill you 1/5 of whisky = killer Blood alcohol level, once hit will cause you to throw up. This is a precautionary measure by body to save us from killing ourselves. Will not work if you drink too quickly Drinking slowly: you will hit the BAL and throw up Very high levels over long periods of time (alcoholics - drunk every day for the last 4 years of life) Chronic overuse Atrophy of dendrites in the cortex and the cerebellum Can actually be picked up on a CT scan Withdrawal: (For long term) Hallucinations Tremors Convulsions/Seizures Possible death As severe and likely to cause death as people coming off of narcotics Tolerance: Increasing the liver enzymes Even if just a week of excessive alcohol consumption Alcohol and Pregnancy 1-2 drinks a day will not actually have that much affect the baby From higher usage of alcohol - going up exponentially: Infant when it is born will go through withdrawal within 6-8 hours High doses: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Third highest cause of mental retardation/mental deficiency 50 percent of the cases show mental deficiency Other physical things may pop up 30 percent though mental deficiency and multiple physical handicaps (majority in the face) Crossed eyes, small head, cleft palate, small eye openings, ear ab
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