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Lectures - Final.docx

Course Code
Ted Petit
Study Guide

of 21
Lecture 7
Main Teaching Points
Brain from the pharmacology perspective
Self-induced drugs
How drugs work
The different kinds of drugs stimulants
Global Overview of How Drugs are Classified
1. Prescription drugs drugs that doctors prescribe
What drugs are considered legal or illegal varies over time and across different countries
2. Over-the-counter drugs drugs that do not require prescriptions
3. Social Drugs nicotine, caffeine, alcohol things that are not bought from drugstores
4. Drugs that are not produced commercially or if they are produced commercially, they are not
produced for the psychoactive effects
Airplane Glue produced commercially but does not produced for its psychoactive
Tolerance most drugs if taken repeatedly will result in a decreasing behavioural effect
Example of Cause with Stimulant:
o Whenever a drug (ex. stimulant) is taken normally, it will cause excess amounts of
transmitters to be released due to different mechanisms winds up with more
transmitter substances stimulating the postsynaptic neurons (receptors)
o As more and more neurotransmitters are released and there is hyper-stimulation of the
receptors, receptors are bombarded; there is classic response from postsynaptic
receptor that will result in the reduce the number of sensitive of the postsynaptic
o Will start reducing the number of receptors that it has to compensate for overactivation
postsynaptic will not fire as often (self-regulates / tones down sensitivity of receptors)
Example of Cause with Depressant:
o Depressant is slowing down functional activity decreases activation of postsynaptic
cell realizes that it is not hitting the normal number activity that it should, will start to
increase in the number / sensitivity of postsynaptic receptor
o Will respond by building more receptors to compensate for the depression of brain
same amount of drugs that will stop 4 receptors will not have to stop 8 receptors
o Instead of person being depressed, the drugs will no longer have the same dramatic
event, won’t be relaxed as much
Depends on the drug that whether a tolerance effect may be produced
o Ritalin drugs for ADHD / ADD has no tolerance affect
o LSD drugs that have tolerance effect
Withdrawal most drugs if taken for a prolonged period of time will result in the dependency of that
drug (withdrawal effects)
Alcohol valium used as treatment to reduce withdrawal effects
Coffee, cigarettes
o Brain has adjusted itself (less sensitive / fewer receptors)
o Taking stimulant away will result in normal amounts of firing but the postsynaptic
membrane don’t have that many receptors (due to prolong effects of stimulants) – the
postsynaptic neuron will be under stimulated
o Normal amounts of stimulation will leave the postsynaptic cell under stimulated
The effects of withdrawal are the exact opposite of the effects of the drug
Those are on stimulants will become depressed; those that are depressed will become hyper
Results if the individual has been on the drug for a long time
Stimulants: Brain will adjust itself, and within a few days, will get back to normal not life
Depressants: Will go through a period of hyper stimulation phase which if severe enough can
result in seizures and death
o Symptoms: Shaking, Seizures
o Can be life threatening depending on severity
o Never take someone directly off depressions will risk hyper stimulation of the brain
Want to take the individual off behaviourally
Addiction the individual wants to have the drug; the person that has been exposed to the drug wants
to have it
Behavioural dependent behavioural / physical requirement for the drug
There are different types:
o Psychological addiction behavioural dependence on the drug; very difficult to
The person behavioural feels like they really need the substance
o Physical addiction results in physical withdraw symptom / psychophysical
General Rule: The more rapid the effect of the drug, the more addicting it is
Addictiveness depends on method of administration
Gives people slight activity level (just like effect of coffee, tea)
Mildly addicting quality slow onset of desired effect
May be mildly addicting or not addicting at all
Crack Cocaine
More rapid effect very strong and fast very addicting
Instead of going to digestive system where it is digested, the individual experiences and instant
Drugs Stimulants
All stimulants causes arousal in cortical EEG EEG will shift into an arousal state; inhibits sleep
Found in coffee and tea
There are different levels of caffeine in different coffee / tea
Caffeine in tea is half of that of coffee
Inhibits sleep
Tolerance: Some tolerance does develop but very little
Withdrawal Symptoms: Headache and constipation
To get a withdrawal symptom, must be on high doses of caffeine about 6-8 cups / day
Most medications for headaches have caffeine in it (codeine) caffeine helps reduce headaches
Diuretic stimulates the digestive system; excess motility
Toxicity: Not very toxic; estimated that it would take 70-100 cups of coffee (administrated at
one time) to kill an individual
Mechanism of Action:
Inhibits the breakdown of cAMP (Cyclic AMP) causes an increase in the amount of
cAMP which leads to the increase of glucose production which causes heightened
cellular activity
Found in tobacco leaves
Mechanism of Action:
Mimics acetylcholine at nicotinic receptors; thereby stimulating the postsynaptic
Works at synapse (cholinergic system)
Causes release of adrenalin which causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure
Tolerance: Some tolerance does develop but not very great (< 1 pack a day)
Leads to periods of depression may not be great or last very long
Craves the drug
Toxicity: Not very high; can be problem for infants if they ingest cigar
Cocaine & Amphetamine
Have a lot of commonalities