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How Drugs Affect The Brain

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Now You Know How Drugs Affect The Brain

How do drugs affect the brain? – Sara Garofalo

Every drug affects the brain in some way, often with dire consequences whether it is the alcohol we can legally purchase at local stores, or drugs like fentanyl or cocaine.

Knowing how drugs affect the brain is one way to understand how drugs affect us as people and as a society. Once we accept that addiction is the brains natural response to excessive drug use, we can eventually de-stigmatize it.

If you or a loved one need help for an alcohol or drug addiction, youre not alone. At least;1 in 7 people;suffer from some form of substance addiction. Sadly, only about 10 percent of those seek out the help they need.

Dont continue to suffer in silence. You and your family deserve to experience a life well-lived, a life that is healthy, happy and drug-free.

The Developing Brain And Vulnerability To Drug Use

Developmental pathways of addiction most certainly involve several factors and processes, including the neurobiology of addiction, environmental factors, genes, and comorbidity . However, insights about brain development provide additional clues as to why adolescence might be a particularly vulnerable period for developing a substance use disorder . As we have noted, brain maturation during adolescence may promote risk-taking and contribute to decisions to use drugs at an early age. Animal studies suggest that other biological factors may desensitize adolescents to the sedative effects of some substances , compared to adults. Adolescent rats after alcohol consumption experience less disruption of motor function and less sedation than adult rats. A lowered sensitivity to the acute effects of alcohol by adolescents may contribute to high quantity drinking during the teenage years .

Prevalence of Past-Year DSM-IV Alcohol Dependence: United States, 20012002

What Neuroscience Says About Brain Maturation

The pioneering research of Jay Giedd and colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health has produced evidence that the brain is still developing during adolescence and young adulthood. The brain grows an excessive number of connections between brain cells prior to adolescence, but at about age 11 or 12, the brain begins the processing of sculpting or pruning-back a significant proportion of these connections . This pruning is a healthy process because it clears out unused wiring to make room for faster and potentially more efficient information processing. Also, pruning helps the brain to build the longer chains of nerve cells needed during adulthood for complex decision making. The pruning process appears to follow two general principles. One is the use-it-or-lose-it” principle , that is, the nerve cells that are frequently used during childhood are strengthened and the ones that are not activated or are infrequently used are eliminated. Dr. Giedd describes this principle in the following way: “Ineffective or weak connections are pruned in much the same way a gardener would prune a tree or bush, giving the plant the desired shape .

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Cocaines Effect On Brain Chemistry

Cocaine can be snorted, smoked, or injected into the body; it rapidly enters the bloodstream and penetrates the brain. It achieves its main psychological effect by creating a build-up of Dopamine by attaching itself to the dopamine transporter and blocking the normal recycling process. This results in a build-up of Dopamine in the synapse, which contributes to the drugs pleasurable effects.

Cocaine exhibits a high affinity for the serotonin transporter;and increases serotonin reuptake, contributing to mood changes.;

Dopamine may be responsible for the locomotor activating and euphoric effects of cocaine , while serotonin may be involved in the deterioration of mood during cocaine withdrawal .

How Do Drugs Work In The Brain

How drugs affect the brain

Drugs interfere with the way neurons send, receive, and process signals via neurotransmitters. Some drugs, such as marijuana and heroin, can activate neurons because their chemical structure mimics that of a natural neurotransmitter in the body. This allows the drugs to attach onto and activate the neurons. Although these drugs mimic the brains own chemicals, they dont activate neurons in the same way as a natural neurotransmitter, and they lead to abnormal messages being sent through the network.

Other drugs, such as amphetamine or cocaine, can cause the neurons to release abnormally large amounts of natural neurotransmitters or prevent the normal recycling of these brain chemicals by interfering with transporters. This too amplifies or disrupts the normal communication between neurons.

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What Is A Brain Pathway

A brain pathway is like a power line between two brain regions. A brain pathway is made up of interconnected neurons, and signals travel along them from one area of the brain to another.

Neurotransmitters are molecules that allow a signal to travel from one neuron to another. All drugs of abuse interfere with neurotransmitter signaling in some way. Neurons in different brain pathways use different neurotransmitters. Depending on which neurotransmitters they interfere with, drugs have varied effects in the brain.

To see how drugs of abuse affect the Reward Pathway, visit Mouse Party.

To learn more about the reward pathway, visit The Reward Pathway Reinforces Behavior.

Interconnected neurons form brain pathways, allowing different brain regions to communicate.

The Effect Of Drugs On The Central Nervous System

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Drugs produce their effect on the body through two major processes. The first is the effect of the chemical properties of the drug on the central nervous system which includes the brain and the spinal cord. This process is called pharmacodynamics. The second is how the drugs enter, are metabolised, and absorbed by the body. This process is known as pharmacokinetics. These two processes work together to produce a certain effect.

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Key Points To Understand The Brain And Addiction:

1. Some characteristics of addiction are similar to other chronic diseases.

Just as cardiovascular disease damages the heart and changes its functioning, addiction changes the brain and impairs the way it works. Below is an image of the brain and the heart .

These images show how scientists can use imaging technology to measure functioning of the brain and heart. Greater activity is shown in reds and yellows, and reduced activity is shown in blues and purples. Both the healthy brain and the healthy heart show greater activity than the diseased brain and heart, because both addiction and heart disease cause changes in function. In drug addiction, the frontal cortex in particular shows less activity. This is the part of the brain associated with judgment and decision-making .

Addiction is similar to other chronic diseases in the following ways:

  • It is preventable
  • If untreated, it can last a lifetime

2. Substances of misuse trick the brains reward system.

Below is a picture of the brain and the nucleus accumbens, in addition to some other brain regions that are affected by addition.

The brains;nucleus accumbens activated by alcohol

Addictive drugs can provide a shortcut to the brains reward system by flooding the nucleus accumbens with dopamine. Additionally, addictive drugs can release 2 to 10 times the amount of dopamine that natural rewards do, and they do it more quickly and reliably.

3. The brain can recover but it takes time!

Effects Of Stimulant Drugs On The Brain

How Does Cocaine Affect The Brain? – How Drugs Work, Cocaine, Preview – BBC Three

Stimulants include illicit drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine, and prescription amphetamines, such as Adderall and Ritalin.

This collection of drugs affects the brain by acting as central nervous system stimulants. Stimulants increase the activity of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine.

While the increase in dopamine causes a rush of pleasure among uses, the hyperstimulation of norepinephrine can cause:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood sugar levels

When taken in high dosages, the irregular chemical balance in the brain caused by stimulants can lead to a dangerously high body temperature, an irregular heartbeat, seizures and heart failure. Over a long period of time, this chemical imbalance could also cause you to develop depression, anxiety, psychosis or extreme paranoia.

Additionally, the hyperstimulation throughout the brain and body makes you feel stronger, more self-assured and energized. The extra confidence and energy allow those who abuse stimulants to accomplish more than they usually would without the drug. The feeling of accomplishment leads many back to the use of stimulants time and time again.

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Reversing The Damage After Long

Healing the damage caused by long-term drug abuse is a two-step process. First, the changes in brain structures and chemistry that perpetuate the addiction need to be reversed. As long as the brain is working against recovery, we will be fighting a losing battle. The second step is to restore lost cognitive function.

There is evidence to suggest that, when the brain is flooded with dopamine from drug abuse, the dopamine receptors change in response. These structural changes that take place in the brain make it more difficult for the receptors to read naturally produced dopamine, serotonin or any other neurotransmitter being mimicked by the drugs. The new receptors are specifically adapted to the compounds in the drugs and dont recognize their intended brain chemicals anymore.

These changes help increase the tolerance for the drugs that compels the user to increase size and frequency of doses. They also strengthen the cravings between doses. Essentially, this is the part of the brain where drug addiction is encouraged by the natural functioning of the brain.

The brain is capable of healing itself given the right conditions. Scientists are working to create therapies that facilitate brain healing. Certainly, ending the exposure to drugs is a start. Just like adding the drugs caused the brain to change and adapt, by changing the conditions in the brain, we can stimulate a re-adjustment.

Travel To Clarity Rehab Now And Treat Drug Problems To The Brain And Body

The effects of drugs on the body and brain are devastating to say the least. The worst drugs can make permanent changes to your brain chemistry or make you so paranoid and delusional, you might become violent altogether. If you wish for a rehab center that will give you a safe place to heal throughout your whole month or two of Thai wellness vacation then you wont go wrong with Clarity Rehab.

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Drug Addiction : A Common Problem Within Our World Today

Drug addiction is a very common problem within our world today. There are many factors that can lead up to drug addiction. Things like the environment that people live in, their peers, genetics could be a factor, and mental illness. One side is that drug addiction could be a disease or it could be that people believe that it ‘s a choice. With it being a choice means that people have to make the decision of what to do before they decide to take drugs or not. Arguing that this could be a disease is

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Drug abuse
  • Different types of drugs affect your body in different ways.
  • They can have short-term and long-term effects, which can be both physical and psychological.
  • You might think drugs wont become a problem because you are only a casual user.
  • Drug use can quickly start to affect your health and other aspects of your life.

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Effects Of Prescription Opioids And Heroin On The Brain

Opioids work as central nervous system depressants to slow down the brains activity. When taken, opioids attach themselves to the receptors in the brain and mimic the behaviors of a natural neurotransmitter. While this makes opioids effective at blocking pain and creating a calming effect throughout the body, they can also dangerously slow down breathing and heart rate.

Opioid painkillers and heroin are among the most addictive drugs. Dependence on these drugs can form quickly because of their ability to create what users describe as a euphoric high almost instantaneously. While this may be true, the pleasurable high is only part of the reason that opioids are so addictive.

Prescription opioids and heroin are also addictive because they activate the reward center in the brain. In order to activate the reward center, opioids flood your system with the feel-good chemical dopamine. Your mind is wired to remember and seek out the activities that stimulated your reward center and teaches you to do these things again and again to get the same euphoric rush. Due to this, your brain can form a dependence to opioids quite rapidly.

Rewarding The Brain: How Addictions Develop

The brain regulates temperature, emotion, decision-making, breathing, and coordination. This major organ of the body also impacts physical sensations in the body, cravings, compulsions, and habits. Under the influence of a powerful and harmful chemical, individuals abusing substances like Benzodiazepines or Heroin can alter the function of their brain.

Drugs interact with the limbic system in the brain to release strong feel-good emotions, affecting the individuals body and mind. Individuals continue taking drugs to support the intense feel-good emotions the brain releases; this creates a cycle of drug use and intense highs. Eventually, they take the drug just to feel normal.

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Informing Drug Prevention And Treatment With Brain Development Science

We contend that brain development science provides a valuable framework for optimizing the effectiveness of prevention and treatment programs and practices. This movement has already started in the context of how this science may help parents be more prevention smart when raising a child . We address some possible applications of brain development science to prevention and treatment, including the parenting issue, below.

The Way Drugs Affect The Brain

How Drug and Alcohol Abuse Affect the Brain

Psychology homework help

Create a 7-12-slide PowerPoint Presentation about the way drugs affect the brain. Include the following in your presentation:

  • Title and reference slide
  • A description of the effects of addiction on the components of the central nervous system and other organs
  • A description of the process of neurotransmission
  • Detailed speaker notes that include what would be said if giving the presentation in person
  • At least two scholarly sources
  • The presentation includes a comprehensive description of the effects of addiction on the components of the central nervous system and other organs.

    The presentation includes a comprehensive description of the process of neurotransmission.

    The presentation includes comprehensive speaker notes that give a complete picture of what would be said if the presentation were given in person.

    The content is written clearly and concisely. Ideas universally progress and relate to each other. The project includes motivating questions and advanced organizers. The project gives the audience a clear sense of the main idea.

    The layout is visually pleasing and contributes to the overall message with appropriate use of headings, subheadings, and white space. Text is appropriate in length for the target audience and to the point. The background and colors enhance the readability of the text.

    Writer is clearly in control of standard, written academic English.

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    Risk Factors For Drug

    The effects of a drug, and how long they last, depend on a number of factors:

    • the type and strength of drugs that you use
    • how the drug was made — substances manufactured in home labs may contain bacteria, dangerous chemicals and other unsafe substances, and have an unknown strength. Even one dose may cause an overdose that leads to brain damage or death
    • your physical characteristics
    • the dose that you take
    • how often and for how long you have been using drugs
    • how you ingest the drug . Compared with swallowing a drug, inhalation and injection are more likely to lead to overdose and dependence. If you are injecting drugs, sharing injecting equipment will increase your risk of contracting serious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV. It will also increase your risk of serious infection
    • your mental health, mood and environment can affect the experience you have when taking drugs. If you have a mental health condition, drugs may exacerbate or complicate the symptoms of that condition
    • whether you mix drugs, including alcohol. In particular, alcohol use may lead to high risk behaviour which can result in the serious injury or death of yourself or others.

    How Does Dopamine Reinforce Drug Use

    The feeling of pleasure is how a healthy brain identifies and reinforces beneficial behaviors, such as eating, socializing, and sex. Our brains are wired to increase the odds that we will repeat pleasurable activities. The neurotransmitter dopamine is central to this. Whenever the reward circuit is activated by a healthy,

    pleasurable experience, a burst of dopamine signals that something important is happening that needs to be remembered. This dopamine signal causes changes in neural connectivity that make it easier to repeat the activity again and again without thinking about it, leading to the formation of habits.

    Just as drugs produce intense euphoria, they also produce much larger surges of dopamine, powerfully reinforcing the connection between consumption of the drug, the resulting pleasure, and all the external cues linked to the experience. Large surges of dopamine teach the brain to seek drugs at the expense of other, healthier goals and activities.

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    Drug Use And Mental Illness: Confusion In The Brain

    There is a reciprocal connection between drug abuse and mental illness. For some people, mental illness precedes addiction. Self-medicating to escape the symptoms of mental illness in not an uncommon path to addiction. Mental illness often comes with emotional pain and confusion that can be mitigated temporarily with psychoactive drugs.

    Self-medicating is never a good idea, however, for a number of reasons. Controlling or overcoming side effects without proper medical guidance is very difficult. In most cases, when drug addiction follows mental illness, the mental illness actually becomes worse.

    Most mental illnesses have to do with abnormal brain chemistry. There is a lot going on in the brain, and just a small deviation in one or two neurons or neurotransmitters can change brain functioning. Adding drug abuse to the mix, which also changes brain chemistry, will just compound the problems in the long run.

    Mental illnesses need to be professionally diagnosed and treated. In the presence of addiction, the mental illness cannot be properly assessed until the drugs are removed from the system. Brain chemistry is too complicated to diagnose in the presence of brain-altering substances.

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