DREXEL PSY 310 - NIDA (7 pages)

Previewing pages 1, 2 of 7 page document View the full content.
View Full Document

NIDA



Previewing pages 1, 2 of actual document.

View the full content.
View Full Document
View Full Document

NIDA

62 views


Pages:
7
School:
Drexel University
Course:
Psy 310 - Drugs & Human Behavior
Unformatted text preview:

NIDA NIDA s mission is to bring the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction Slide 1 The National Institute on Drug Abuse NIDA is part of the National Institutes of Health and is dedicated to bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction When a person first thinks about trying drugs it is usually a voluntary decision Maybe I should see what it s like just this once you might think Or a friend dares you Or you just want to feel good or forget your troubles Most drugs of abuse including nicotine alcohol marijuana cocaine and heroin activate a part of the brain called the reward system and that makes you feel good Drug abuse has serious consequences The most serious consequence is that prolonged drug use can change the brain in fundamental and long lasting ways Eventually it becomes difficult to derive pleasure from other normal activities such as sports food or sex After repeated drug use you reach a point when deciding to use drugs is no longer voluntary Scientists have proof now that drugs literally change your brain It s as if a switch goes off in the brain It is during this transformation process that a drug abuser becomes a drug addict Addiction is a chronic relapsing disease characterized by compulsive often uncontrollable drug seeking and drug use in the face of negative consequences Drug addicts need professional help and treatment to help them cope with these changes and possibly change the brain back to normal Slide 2 The brain is the most complex organ in the body The brain is made up of a complex network of billions of nerve cells called neurons as well as other kinds of cells all protected by the skull The typical brain weighs only about 3 pounds but it is the source of most qualities that make you who you are Neurons in the brain and spinal cord are part of the nervous system and act as a body s Command Central The brain is constantly active even when we are asleep As a matter of fact asleep or awake the brain requires 20 percent of the heart s output of fresh blood and 20 percent of the blood s oxygen and glucose to keep functioning properly Glucose is a type of sugar that is our brain s primary fuel The brain produces enough electrical energy to power a 40 watt light bulb for 24 hours That s a lot of energy for a human organ a little bigger than a softball Slide 3 How a neuron works Neurons are unique because of their computational prowess that allows them to rapidly process integrate and disseminate vast amounts of information within the brain and throughout the body Your brain communicates with the rest of your body by sending messages from one neuron to the next and ultimately to the muscles and organs of the body Neurons can also store information a fundamental property that when scaled up to the level of whole networks allows for the creation of memories Typically a neuron contains three important parts a cell body that directs all activities of the neuron dendrites the part that looks like tree branches which are short fibers that receive messages from other neurons and relay those messages to the cell body and the axon a long single fiber that transmits messages from the cell body to dendrites of other neurons Every moment messages traverse entire neural networks with amazing speed As a matter of fact scientists often compare the activity of neurons to the way electricity works A neuron communicates with other neurons at special places called synapses or synaptic clefts To send a message a neuron releases a chemical messenger or neurotransmitter into the synaptic cleft From there the neurotransmitter crosses the synapse and attaches to key sites called receptors on the receiving neuron When neurotransmitters attach to these receptors they cause changes inside the receiving neuron and the message is delivered Neurons communicate with each other within a network of interconnected cells that scientists are still trying to fully understand Scientists do know that this complex communication system within the brain can be disrupted by the chemicals in drugs Did you know that more than 400 chemicals are in a marijuana leaf And over 4 000 chemicals besides nicotine are in tobacco Slide 4 The brain is your body s Command Central Your brain controls more than the way you think The brain controls our physical sensations and body movements How we understand what we see hear smell taste and touch Our sense of balance and coordination Memory Feelings of pleasure and reward The ability to make judgments When we catch a football dance jog speak sing laugh whistle smile cry that s our brain receiving processing and sending out messages to different parts of our body When we feel good for whatever reason laughing with a friend or seeing a good movie or eating our favorite ice cream the brain s reward system is activated As we said before the reward system is the part of the brain that makes you feel good The reward system is a collection of neurons that release dopamine a neurotransmitter When dopamine is released by these neurons a person feels pleasure Scientists have linked dopamine to most drugs of abuse cocaine marijuana heroin alcohol and nicotine These drugs all activate the reward system and cause neurons to release large damaging amounts of dopamine Over time drugs change this part of the brain As a result things that used to make you feel good like eating ice cream skateboarding or getting a hug no longer feel as good Slide 5 Control centers in the brain are affected by drug use Drugs of abuse disable or disrupt important brain functions When someone smokes marijuana for example the chemical THC delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana travels quickly to the brain We can see the areas of the brain in purple where THC concentrates Let s go back to the previous slide and see the areas of the brain that are affected by THC You can see that THC builds up in areas that control the body s movements balance coordination memory and judgment and sensations THC disrupts your brain s ability to control these activities as well as you could normally Slide 6 A positron emission tomography PET scanner Now let s take a look inside your mind One of the tools that scientists use to see the effects of drugs on the brain is called positron emission tomography or a PET say the word pet scan Similar to an x ray but much more sophisticated a PET scan is used to examine many different organs including the heart liver lungs


View Full Document

Access the best Study Guides, Lecture Notes and Practice Exams

Loading Unlocking...
Login

Join to view NIDA and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or
We will never post anything without your permission.
Don't have an account?
Sign Up

Join to view NIDA and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or

By creating an account you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use

Already a member?