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Drugs and Consciousness. Drugs and Consciousness. Psychoactive Drugs: A chemical substance that alters perceptions and moods (affects consciousness). Dependence and Addiction.

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drugs and consciousness1
Drugs and Consciousness
  • Psychoactive Drugs: A chemical substance that alters perceptions and moods (affects consciousness).
dependence and addiction
Dependence and Addiction

Continued use of a psychoactive drug produces tolerance. With repeated exposure to a drug, the drug’s effect lessens. Thus it takes greater quantities to get the desired effect.

withdrawal and dependence
Withdrawal and Dependence
  • Withdrawal:Upon stopping use of a drug (after addiction), users may experience the undesirable effects of withdrawal.
  • Dependence: Absence of a drug may lead to a feeling of physical pain, intense cravings (physical dependence), and negative emotions (psychological dependence).
misconceptions about addiction
Misconceptions about Addiction

Addiction is a craving for a chemical substance, despite its adverse consequences (physical & psychological).

Addictive drugs quickly corrupt.

Addiction cannot be overcome voluntarily.

Addiction is no different than repetitive pleasure-seeking behaviors.

psychoactive drugs
Psychoactive Drugs

Psychoactive drugs are divided into three groups.

  • Depressants
  • Stimulants
  • Hallucinogens

Depressantsaredrugs that reduce neural activity and slow body functions. They include:

  • Alcohol
  • Barbiturates
  • Opiates
  • Alcoholaffects motor skills, judgment, and memory…and increases aggressiveness while reducing self awareness.

Drinking and Driving

stages of alcohol intoxication
Stages of Alcohol Intoxication
  • 1. Subclinical (0.01-0.05)- Nearly normal behavior
  • 2. Euphoria (0.03-0.12)- Mild euphoria, sociability, increased self-confidence; decreased inhibitionsdiminution of attention, judgment and control
  • 3. Excitement (0.09-0.25)- Emotional instability; loss of critical judgment, impairment of perception, memory and comprehension, reduced visual acuity; peripheral vision and glare recovery, sensory-motor incoordination; impaired balance, drowsiness
stages of alcohol intoxication1
Stages of Alcohol Intoxication
  • 4. Confusion (0.18-0.30)- Disorientation, mental confusion; dizziness, exaggerated emotional states, disturbances of vision and of perception of color, form, motion and dimensions, increased pain threshold, increased muscular in-coordination; staggering gait; slurred speech, apathy, lethargy
  • 5. Stupor (0.25-0.40)- General inertia; approaching loss of motor functions, markedly decreased response to stimuli,marked muscular incoordination; inability to stand or walkvomiting; incontinence, impaired consciousness; sleep
stages of alcohol intoxication2
Stages of Alcohol Intoxication
  • Coma (0.35-0.50)- Complete unconsciousness, depressed or abolished reflexes, subnormal body temperature, incontinence, impairment of circulation and respiration, possible death
  • Death (0.45 +)- Death from respiratory arrest
bac calculations
BAC Calculations
  • BAC Depends on:
  • # of Drinks
  • Type of Drink
  • Weight
  • Amount of Time Drinking
  • http://www.ou.edu/oupd/bac.htm

Barbiturates:Drugs that depress the activity of the central nervous system, reducing anxiety but impairing memory and judgment. Nembutal, Seconal, and Amytal are some examples.

effects of barbiturates on the brain
Effects of Barbiturates on the Brain
  • Exact mechanisms not understood
  • Thought to bind to sodium channels on neurons and prevent the flow of sodium ions. Because sodium ions cannot flow across the neuronal membrane, action potentials cannot be produced.
  • May also increase flow of chloride ions affecting GABA
interesting barbiturate facts
Interesting Barbiturate Facts
  • The barbiturate called sodium pentothal is known as "truth serum." However, it really does NOT cause people to tell the truth. Rather, it may lower a person's inhibitions and make people more talkative.
  • Musician Jimi Hendrix died on September 18, 1970 of a barbiturate overdose. Marilyn Monroe also met the same fate.

3. Opiates:Opium and its derivatives (morphine and heroin) depress neural activity, temporarily lessening pain and anxiety. They are highly addictive.

  • Places on neurons recognize opiates. These receptors are located in parts of the brain important for breathing, pain, and emotions.
  • The brain manufactures its own opiates known as endorphins.
  • Long history of opium use in medical field
opiate history
Opiate History
  • Important Dates in the History of Opiates
  • 1803 - Morphine was isolated from opium by Frederick Serturner. 1832 - Codeine was extracted from opium. 1874 - Heroin was first produced from morphine.1898 - The Bayer Company introduced heroin as a substitute for morphine.1914 - Harrison Narcotic Act - Added a tax on opiate distribution.1922 - Narcotic Import and Export Act - Restricted the importation of crude opium except for medical use.1924 - Heroin Act - Made manufacture and possession of heroin illegal.1930 - Federal Bureau of Narcotics was created.1970 - Controlled Substances Act was passed - Divided drugs into categories, set regulations and penalties for narcotics.
heroin effects on the brain
Heroin Effects on the Brain
  • Stimulates a "pleasure system" in the brain involving neurons in the midbrain that use the neurotransmitter called "dopamine."
  • Midbrain dopamine neurons project to the cerebral cortex causing the pleasurable effects of heroin and adding to the addictive power.
  • Other neurotransmitter systems, such as those related to endorphins also likely to be involved with withdrawal from and tolerance to heroin.
famous opiate abusers
Famous Opiate Abusers
  • John Belushi (Death)
  • Kurt Cobain (Death)
  • Jerry Garcia (Death)
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • Marilyn Monroe (Death)
  • Anna Nicole Smith (Death)
  • John Candy (Death)
  • Ben Franklin
  • Robert Downey Jr.
  • Boy George
  • Elvis Presley (Death)
  • Jim Morrison (Death)
  • Tom Sizemore
  • Sid Vicious (Death)
  • Keith Richards
  • DJ AM (Death)
  • Heath Ledger (Death)
  • Chris Farley (Death)
  • Janis Joplin (Death)

Stimulants are drugs that excite neural activity and speed up body functions.

  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • Amphetamines
  • Methamphetamines
caffeine and nicotine
Caffeine and Nicotine

Caffeine and nicotine increase heart and breathing rates and other autonomic functions to provide energy.


Amphetamines stimulate neural activity, causing accelerated body functions and associated energy and mood changes, with devastating effects.

amphetamine effects on brain
Amphetamine Effects on Brain
  • Cause release of dopamine from axon terminals.
  • Block dopamine reuptake.
  • Inhibit storage of dopamine in vesicles.
  • Inhibit destruction of dopamine by enzymes.
  • Actions result in more dopamine in the synaptic cleft where it can act on receptors.
results of amphetamine use
Results of Amphetamine Use
  • Insomnia, restlessness
  • "Paranoid psychosis"
  • Hallucinations
  • Violent and aggressive behavior
  • Weight loss
  • Tremors
crystal meth
Crystal Meth
  • Highly addictive amphetamine with effects similar to cocaine.
  • Synthetic (manmade) drug, manufactured locally using pseudo-ephedrine (ingredient in cold medications), acetone, drain cleaner, lithium, iodine, paint thinner, kerosene.
  •  Damage to the brain is similar to that caused by strokes or Alzheimer’s disease.
  • 20% of people who use meth become dependent.
  • Ecstasy or (MDMA) -Stimulant and mild hallucinogen.
  • Produces euphoric high
  • Can damage serotonin-producing neurons,

resulting in permanent deflation of mood and impairment of memory.


Cocaine induces immediate euphoria followed by a crash. Crack, a form of cocaine, can be smoked. Other forms of cocaine can be sniffed or injected.

long term effects of cocaine
Long Term Effects of Cocaine
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Movement problems
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations

Hallucinogensare psychedelic (mind-manifesting) drugs that distort perceptions and evoke sensory images in the absence of sensory input.

  • LSD:(lysergic acid diethylamide)- chemical that alters a user's mood, thoughts or perceptions.
  • Thought that effects of LSD caused by stimulation of serotonin receptors on neurons in brain area called the raphe nuclei. Not clear what produces all the effects of LSD.
  • Mandatory 5 year sentence for possession of 1 gram.
effects of lsd
Effects of LSD
  • Feelings of "strangeness"
  • Vivid colors
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion, panic, psychosis, anxiety
  • Emotional reactions like fear, happiness or sadness
  • Distortion of the senses and of time and space
  • "Flashback" reactions - these are the effects of LSD that occur even after the user has not taken LSD for months or even years.
  • Increases in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Chills
  • Muscle weakness
  • Psilocybin Mushrooms: produce s yawning, inability to concentrate, restlessness, increased heart rate, and hallucinations (visual and auditory
  • Amanita Muscaria: produces feelings of euphoria, hallucinations, muscle jerks, drowsiness, sweating, pupil dilation, and increased body temperature. Toxic to kidneys and liver.
mushrooms effects on brain
Mushrooms Effects on Brain
  • Chemical structure similar to serotonin
  • Primary effect of psilocin is on seratonin receptors.
  • Reduces reuptake of serotonin by neurons .
  • Muscimol activates GABA receptors on neurons- inhibitory system
  • Identification of hallucinogenic mushrooms can be difficult because they look similar to toxic, deadly mushrooms.
  • Mushrooms bought from dealers may be contaminated with drugs such as LSD or PCP
  • In 1998 in the United States, 9,839 cases of mushroom poisoning were reported by poison centers
  • "All mushrooms are edible, but some only once."-- Croatian Proverb
  • Phencyclidine- affects multiple neurotransmitter systems in the brain: inhibits reuptake of dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and inhibits action of glutamate.
  • Dissociative anesthetic because users appear to be "disconnected" from their environment: they know where they are, but they do not feel as if they are part of it = violent/aggressive behavior
  • Can act like many other classes of drugs depending on user and administration
  • Marijuana (Cannabis sativa)
  • THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol):is the major active ingredient in marijuana (hemp plant) that triggers a variety of effects, including mild hallucinations.
marijuana effects on brain
Marijuana Effects on Brain
  • THC acts on cannabinoid receptors on neurons in brain.
  • Brain areas involved in memory, concentration, perception, movement.
  • Impairs with normal functioning of these areas of the brain.
marijuana effects on the brain
Marijuana Effects on the Brain
  • Anandamide is the brain's own THC (just like "endorphin" is the brain's own morphine).
  • THC can affect two neurotransmitters: norepinephrine and dopamine. Serotonin and GABA levels may also be altered.
addiction death
  • Addiction is controversial.
  • Also controversial is whether marijuana causes long-term mental abnormalities.
  • Future research needed.
  • NO documented cases of a fatal overdose produced by marijuana.
  • High level of tar and other chemicals in marijuana; smoking marijuana increases the chances of lung problems and cancer later in life.
how long does marijuana stay
How long does marijuana stay?
  • Marijuana can be detected in urine, blood, saliva, and hair follicles.
  • Depends on how much a person has smoked, how long a person has smoked for, and the method used to detect THC.
  • The half-life of THC is about 24 hours. However, the metabolites of THC can be detected for 45 to 60 days after the last use.
drug use
Drug Use

The graph below shows the percentage of US high- school seniors reporting their use of alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine from the 70s to the late 90s.

influences on drug use
Influences on Drug Use

The use of drugs is based on biological, psychological, and social-cultural influences.

marijuana use
Marijuana Use

The use of marijuana in teenagers is directly related to the “perceived risk” involved with the drug.

near death experiences
Near-Death Experiences

After a close brush with death, many people report an experience of moving through a dark tunnel with a light at the end. Under the influence of hallucinogens, others report bright lights at the center of their field of vision.

mind body problem
Mind-Body Problem

Near-death experiences raise the mind-body issue. Can the mind survive the dying body?

Dualism:Dualists believe that mind (non-physical) and body (physical) are two distinct entities that interact.

Monism:Monists believe that mind and body are different aspects of the same thing.