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Lecture 7

Lecture 7.doc

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University of Toronto Scarborough

Lecture 7 - largest numbers of patients in psych wards are alcoholics/drug addicts Classification overview Prescription drugs: prescribed by a physician; drugs that require a prescription legally varies b/w countries Over-the-counter drugs: can buy at a drugstore w/o a prescription Social drugs: not obtained by prescription or drugstore, eg alcohol, caffeine Non-commercial: drugs not produced commercially or not produced commercially for their psychoactive effect, eg marijuana, airplane glue Tolerance Tolerance: if taken repeatedly, there is a decreasing effect for the drug - when taking a drug (eg stimulant), excess of neurotransmitter would be released and hit the receptors on the post- synaptic neuron => as there is an excess of stimulant, there is a plastic response of the post synaptic receptor to reduce the number or sensitivity of the receptors => compensating for over-activation induced by the drug – neuron won’t fire as often due to its own feedback loop - over time taking the same amount of drug, receptors in the brain diminish (developing a tolerance) => taking the same amount of drugs, person doesn’t get as high - in a depressant the activity of the drug diminishes functional activity of the post-synaptic cell => increase in the number or sensitivity of the post-synaptic receptor Withdrawal Withdrawal: condition of exactly the opposite of the drug response - due to tolerance, drug addicts develop withdrawal responses => can never take a person off the drug quickly, especially depressants - brain has adjusted itself to the fewer receptors (in a stimulant situation) - normal levels of activity are a lot lower then with the stimulant - post-synaptic cell w few receptors will be under-stimulated under normal levels of stimulation - person goes through depression bc too little stimulation - in a depression, withdrawal is overstimulation of the brain - withdrawal from stimulants isn’t life threatening – depression, tiredness, sleep => results in hyper-stimulation – shaking, seizures (brain over activity); potentially life-threatening depending on severity => when taking off depressant, substitute for another depressant and then slowly take off that depressant Addiction Psychological addiction: behavioural dependence; person likes the drug Physical addiction: physical withdrawal symptoms when the drug is removed from the system; measureable physical indication - generally the more rapid the effect of the drug, the more addictive the drug is Stimulants - all cause an arousal in cortical EEG and inhibit sleep 1 1. Caffeine: - mildest stimulant - found in coffee and tea – different levels of caffeine ; tea generally about half the amount of caffeine as coffee Tolerance: some but very little – drink a cup of coffee a day for years and it still works to stimulate Withdrawal: headaches (most headache drugs have caffeine in them); stimulates digestion so withdrawal constipation/irregularity => only when coming off very high doses – 6-8 cups per day Toxicity: not toxic, estimate 70-100 cups to kill Mechanism: inhibits the breakdown of cyclic AMP, which causes an increase in its amount => leads to an increase in glucose production causing heightened cellular activity 2. Nicotine: - found in tobacco leaves Mechanism: mimics ach at nicotinic receptors, stimulating the post-synaptic receptors => works through dire
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