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PSYC62H3 (139)
Lecture 7


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University of Toronto Scarborough
Suzanne Erb

PSYC62: LECTURE 7: SEDATIVE HYPNOTICS AND ANXIOLYTICS Sedative hypnotics and anxiolytics  Anxiolytics are subset of sedatives  Alcohol is main anxiolytic  Share similar pharmacological and psychological effects  Can induce moderate excitement and activity at low doses, but also have a calming effect  Hypnotic – producing sleep  Many anxiolytics available to treat anxiety, not only these ones Three major groups  Benzodiazapines and barbiturates commonly abused prescription drug  Act via gaba system – primary inhibitory system o Have sedative effects in NT system that produces inhibition in nervous system  Barbiturates act at binding site to facilitate/enhance action of gaba on gaba A receptor  Also act as pharmacological antagonists at ampa glutamate receptors o Primary excitatory transmitter in CNS Benzodiazepines  Act as benzodiazepine binding site to facilitate gaba transmission Alcohol  Highly abused recreational drug  2 edge swords (prototypic)  Can choose this for writing assignment  Alcohol at moderate levels can have health benefits  Produces significant dependence o Effects of liver and cardiovascular system, reduced reproductive function  Can’t characterize alcohol in the same way as other recreational drugs like cocaine, heroin and cannabis Difference  Other drugs don’t improve health in an already healthy person  Can take an amount of alcohol not associated with overt signs intoxication, but can impair one’s judgment behind the wheel in a car Source  Fermentation – natural biological/metabolic process, not synthetic in lab or extraction from leaves like other drugs  All alcohol depends on fermentation, but hard liquor also goes through distillation  Fermentation: process begins when sugar dissolved in water and sugar water mixture is exposed to air which produces environment ideal for microorganisms called yeast that multiple rapidly by eating the sugar and then convert the sugar into ethanol and CO2  As yeast multiple so does ethanol upto 15%  Once reached 15%, yeast will cease to do it’s work  Wine and beer only have 15% ethanol for that reason because there’s no distillation  If yeast exposed to grape juice – wine produced  If yeast exposed to grains – beer produced  Distillation: heat fermented mixture, ethanol has lower boiling point than water, steam has higher alcohol concentration than initial mixture then condense steam and heating that mixture in turn and collect steam with a higher ethanol concentration and repeating process to get a beverage of higher and higher ethanol concentration Legal  Increase in abuse potential and increase in access to drugs from schedule 1 to 5  Alcohol is not a controlled substance  Drug highly recreational that isn’t a controlled substance is nicotine/tobacco although highly abused  Omission of alcohol and nicotine is significant because they are widely abused  Exclusion of alcohol includes exclusion of wine is used as a sacrament in certain religious traditions  Any drug in the schedule cannot be used legally  If alcohol becomes a schedule drug, then it can’t be used legally in religious traditions  Should alcohol be held off table, when other drugs used in religious traditions are held off Health Benefits  Moderate drinkers are healthiest individuals followed by abstainers and then heavy drinkers  Health measured by risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality French Paradox  Observation made by researchers studying health of people in france  French diet is high in saturated fats like cheese  People in france had less risk of coronary heart disease o Terrane france  Consumed large amounts of wine relative to other populations  Led to hypothesis that it was the high levels of alcohol consumption that led to less risk  1-2 glasses of 4 ounces of wine a day lowers risk of heart disease  Specific to drinking wine or may be w.e alcohol  Light moderate alcohol consumption increases production of good cholesterol and takes damaging cholesterol out  Defining what is moderate and how mechanism controlling relationship between alcohol and controlling cardiovascular disease in men vs women still needs to be understood Socially acceptable  sufficient to produce overt signs of intoxication Can result in impaired judgment, driving leading to injury or death  Higher levels of consumption even though acceptable and sufficient for intoxification can lead to unprotected/unwanted sex, harassment, assault, vandalism, suicide  Low levels can affect developing embryo  Nicotine does not lead to adverse outcomes like with alcohol  Can smoke cigarette and get behind wheel – not a problem A Two-Edge Sword  Alcohol has positive connotation in use of social occasions  Births, funerals, etc.  Has negative effects as well  Ambivalence displayed about alcohol in public  People want to stop it’s use and limit it but others still want it in religious and societal occasions Pharmacology of Alcohol  Effects of alcohol are diverse  Lipid membrane of neurons in CNS  Alcohol alters cell membrane’s anatomy by altering it’s internal structure  Makes neurons sluggish  Difficult to pin point a site of action or mechanism, because alcohol has diverse biological effects Pharmacokinetics  Absorption o Alcohol provides calories = food o Does not need to be digested by stomache before being absorbed into intestines and general circulation o Most alcohol passes from stomache into intestines and then absorbed in blood o If alcohol is vaporized, can be absorbed through lungs(circulation) o If a lot of contents in stomach at time alcohol is consumed, can slow rate of absorption o Effects felt rapidly when consumed on an empty stomach o More rapidly alcohol conumped, more rapidly absorped, more rapidly felt effects o Higher concentration of alcohol, more rapidly absorbed  Distribution o Blood distributes alcohol to all of body’s tissues o Proportion of water in a tissue will determine proportion of alcohol absorbed by that tissue o Blood is perfect transport mechanism o Once alcohol reaches site of action, water content of tissue determines how successful alcohol is there o Muscle and bone have low water so not a lot of alcohol will be here o CNS tissues and brain has a lot of water so a lot of alcohol will be here o Brain has large blood supply and alcohol has free access to it o BAC – amount of alcohol in blood stream at any given time o Expressed as percentage of weight of alcohol in 100 units of blood o 1 drop of alcohol in 1000 units of blood gives 0.01% BAC o Leg
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