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Drugs and Consciousness

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  1. Drugs and Consciousness

  2. Psychoactive drugs are chemicals that change perceptions and moods through their actions at the neural synapses • Can include a number of legal drugs: • Coffee • Cigarettes • Diet pills • Glass of wine • Tylenol PM • Adderall • Viagra

  3. ADDICTION • Compulsive craving for substance • Despite adverse consequences and physical symptoms resulting from withdrawal • Aches, nausea, distress • 90 million people (worldwide) suffer from addiction • World Health Organization (WHO) - 2008

  4. Dependence & Addiction • Tolerance • Produced by continued use of psychoactive drug • Brain adapts its chemistry to offset drug’s effect • User requires larger and larger doses • Example: • Person who rarely drinks alcohol has one drink and feels drunk or “tipsy” • Experienced drinker can have 5-6 drinks before feeling any effects • Withdrawal • Undesirable side effects when usage of drug stops • Body’s response to drug’s absence • May feel physical pain - cravings

  5. Dependence & Addiction • Physical Dependence • Presence of physical withdrawal symptoms • Physical pain or illness • Psychological Dependence • Drugs that are not physically addictive • Drug becomes an important part of user’s life • Relieving negative emotions • Example: • Stress-relieving drugs • Overlap • Crystal meth increases amount of dopamine present in brain • Body reacts by producing less • User stops – low dopamine levels lead to lack of pleasure


  6. Depressants Alcohol • Lowers inhibitors • The Angry vs. Friendly drunk • Slows neural processes • Disrupts memory formation • Alcohol suppresses REM sleep • Contributes to nerve cell death and impairs growth of synaptic connections • Reduces self-awareness Opiates • Opium, Morphine, Heroin • Depress neural functioning • Pupils constrict, breathing slows, become lethargic • Blissful state • Brain eventually stops producing its own opiates • Endorphins • Danger of overdose

  7. hallucinogens LSD • (Lysergic acid diethylamide) • Chemically similar to neurotransmitter serotonin • Users experience euphoria, detachment, or panic Marijuana • Major active ingredient • THC • Relaxes, disinhibits, produces euphoric state • Mild hallucinogen • Amplifies sensation • Impairs motor control, perceptual skills, and reaction time

  8. stimulants Caffeine • World’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug • Coffee, tea, soda, fruit juices, mints, energy bars • Mild dose • Lasts 3-4 hours • Heavy usage can lead to withdrawal symptoms • Headache, fatigue Nicotine • Triggers release of epinephrine and norepinephrine • Diminish appetite, boost alertness and mental efficiency • Stimulates release of dopamine • Calms anxiety • Reduces sensitivity to pain • Tobacco kills 5.4 million of its 5.4 billion users (WHO – 2008) • Smokers develop tolerance leading to larger doses • Withdrawal symptoms • Craving, anxiety, insomnia, irritability

  9. Stimulants Cocaine • Enters bloodstream • “Rush” of euphoria • Continuous use - depletes brain’s natural supply of neurotransmitters • Dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine • Use can lead to: • Emotional disturbances, suspiciousness, convulsions, cardiac arrest, or respiratory failure Ecstasy • Stimulant and mild hallucinogen • Triggers dopamine release • Releases stored serotonin and blocks reabsorption • Emotional elevation • “I love everyone” feeling • Dehydrating effect • Overheating, increased blood-pressure, or death

  10. Stimulants • Amphetamines • Enhanced feeling of wakefulness and focus • Heart rate increases – raises blood pressure • Reduces appetite • Reduces fatigue • Enhance synaptic activity • Release of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine • Often prescribed as: • Adderall - ADHD • Vyvanse – ADHD • Dextrostat, Benzedrine, & ProCentra – Narcolepsy and ADHD