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PSYB65 - Lec 8 (near verbatim).docx

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Ted Petit

PSYB65: Lec 8 CNS depressants, opioids, psychedelic drugs  CNS Depressants: o Look at the EEG of someone, activity of cerebral cortex (shift into relaxed/drowsy state), all of these drugs will depress, if not immediately, but eventually; stimulants will cause EEG to shift into arousal state o 3 categories:  Barbiturates:  Lower brain excitability  GABA = primary inhibitory transmitter in the brain (humans/most mammals)  Barbiturates bind to GABA receptors and stimulate them and since GABA is inhibitory, by activating these inhibitory receptors  slows down activity in the brain  Synergistic (implies at least that the two of them work together) w/ most other depressants (one quantity of alcohol and one quantity of barbiturates it’s as if you gave person 2 depressants; act by same mechanisms); sometimes synergistic means not only add to each other, but multiply the effects of each other; this is why they’re so deadly (combo of barbiturates and alchohol b/c they are synergistic)  Usually used as sedative to put ppl to sleep, primarily in older ppl; as you mature, sleep-wakefulness cycle becomes erratic; problem for using this as sleeping pill is that ppl spend less time in REM sleep (dreaming) = they don’t get a lot of quality sleep; if you deprive animals of REM sleep, there are a lot of psychological effects  Used to treat epilepsy (hyper-excited), Valium/Valium derivatives = slows brain down  Anti-anxiety  Since a depressant, when you come off the drug, you get over-activation of CNS  could be life-threatening o Convulsions/seizures (undampening brain) = symptom of depressant w/drawal = could be life-threatening o Never take anybody off a depressant = life-threatening;  Since it is synergistic w/ a lot of other depressants like alcohol, you can prevent w/drawal symptoms by giving alcohol  Non-barbiturates:  Alcohol:  More powerful impact psychologically (alcoholics take up more bed in psychiatric ward than others); very powerful influence on society/medical community b/c so many of them  CNS depressant; yeast digesting sugar and secreting alcohol  Single most detrimental drug in society; negative effect on society as a whole  Largest admission to mental hospitals (20-40% of all beds); sociological problems  55% of all arrests, person was impaired; homicides = 50-75% person was drinking; 50% of drivers deaths, one of the drivers impaired; suicide: 20- 30% impaired  Psychological experiment where they tried to get rid of alcohol: America passed a law called ‘Prohibition’ from 1920 – 1933; Canada didn’t have alcohol prohibition; illegal sent to America o Initially, there was a drop in the problems, by 1930  all the #s had come back to where it was pre-prohibition; in addition, had other problems that they didn’t have when alcohol was legal o The deaths came back up b/c everybody figured how to illegally get alcohol; gvt incapable of stopping humans from getting drug that they really want = psychological aspect o Extra problems: when something is illegal, it’s outside the law and gvt can’t inspect it and say the stuff is ‘good’  what ppl normally drink = ethanol; problem, if not careful, you can introduce methanol into it = methanol is broken down into a lot of bad stuff (formic acid = blindness); if drink enough, break- down products may create death o Extra problems + original problems came back  If drug = illegal, gvt can’t determine its purity  Alcohol is directly absorbed to bloodstream through stomach wall unlike everything else you eat; alcohol = fastest source of NRG avail to humans  Alcohol = extremely caloric (200 cal in ounce; 7 cal per gram); alcohol has more calories than anything else except pure fat  Even though it’s caloric, the metabolic process by which it is broken down doesn’t allow alcohol to be stored as fat (can’t directly get fat on alcohol); but since it is such an efficient source of NRG (very short metabolic path) that everything else that you eat at that time gets stored and body uses alcohol’s NRG  Causes brain to decrease the production of ADH (antidiuretic hormone)  alcohol = diuretic = excrete more fluids than you take in; leads to dehydration which is part of the hangover problem (make sure to drink more fluids b4 going to bed)  CNS effects: don’t really know how it works; we know like barbiturates, it has some effect on the GABA receptors which are inhibitory BUT we don’t think it’s the complete mechanism; it does stimulate the GABA receptors by most research suggests that alcohol’s primary isn’t thru transmitter systems but they are depressing either metabolism w/in cell or by effecting membrane actions of neurons  Complicated: 1-2 drinks (low levels of alcohol) actually disinhibits the cortex  cortex shifts to an arousal pattern/state; we know that a drug works in a single way  how can a depressant be a stimulant?  found that alcohol inhibits inhibitory centres in the base of the brain and by doing so, the cortex is NOT inhibited at low levels (more active/chatty and faster reflexes; ppl are better at low levels of alcohol); o Once alcohol levels get a bit higher, it starts to depress the cortex directly (EEG goes into depressed state); negative in terms of reaction time; w/ more alcohol, can depress medulla which will depress respiration  ppl die from too much alcohol o Normally, as you drink, you’ll reach a point, where there’s a reflex in the human body w/ alcohol, which will cause you to regurgitate but you have to reach this level at a reasonable fast pace; if you get to that point very slowly, you can go past that point w/out throwing up (then death)  Long-term: couple drinks of day, live longer (good for circ sys) but after
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