PSY 492 - Perception - Biological Psychology - Chapter 3 - Drugs and the synapse - Exam 2

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Drugs and the synapse

Antagonistic drugs

Block the effects of neurotransmitters

Agonist drugs

Mimic or increase the effects of neurotransmitters

Drugs work by doing one more of the following to neurotransmitters:

1. Increasing the synthesis
2. Causing vesicles to leak
3. Increasing release
4. Decreasing reuptake
5. Blocking the breakdown into inactive chemical
6. Directly stimulating or block postsynaptic receptors

Affinity

A drug has an _____ for a particular type of receptor if it binds to that receptor

- Can vary from strong to weak

Efficacy

The _____ of the drug is its tendency to activate the receptor

Affinity & efficacy

Drugs can have a high affinity but low efficacy

Nucleus accumbens

Almost all abused drugs stimulate dopamine release in the _____ _____

- small subcortical area rich in dopamine receptors

- an area responsible for feelings of pleasure

Stimulant drugs

Increase excitement, alertness, motor activity and elevate mood

Amphetamine

Stimulate dopamine synapses by increasing the release of dopamine from the presynaptic terminal

Cocaine

Blocks the reuptake of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin

Methylphenidate (Ritalin)

Blocks the reuptake of dopamine but in a more gradual and more controlled rate (often prescribed for people with ADD)

Ecstasy

- Increases the release of dopamine at low doses that account for its stimulant properties
- Increases the release of serotonin at higher doses accounting for its hallucinogenic properties
- May contribute to higher incidences of anxiety and depression as well as memory loss and other cognitive deficits

Nicotine

Active ingredient in tobacco

Nicotinic receptor

Found in the central nervous system, the nerve-muscle junction of skeletal muscles and in the nucleus accumbens. They are also abundant in the nucleus accumbens and facilitate dopamine release

Opiate drugs

- Drugs that are derived from the opium poppy
- Decrease sensitivity to pain and increase relaxation
- Ex: morphine, heroin, methadone

Endorphins

- The brain produces peptides called _____
- Inhibiting GABA indirectly releases dopamine
- Attach to the same receptors to which opiates attach

Tetrahydrocannabino (THC)

- Active ingredient in marijuana
- Attaches to cannabin receptors throughout the brain but especially in the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, basal ganglia, and hippocampus

Anandamide & 2AG

Endogenous chemicals that attach to the canniban receptors

Hallucinogenic drugs

- Cause distorted perception

- stimulate resemble serotonin type 2A receptors at inappropriate times for longer duration than usual thus causing their subjective effect

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