Drugs and Homeostasis

Topics: Dopamine, Bipolar disorder, Drug addiction Pages: 7 (1675 words) Published: May 15, 2011
Biology 3201 STSE
Drugs and Homeostasis

Submitted To: Mr. King
Submitted By: Chelsea Hamen
Date Due: October 28th

Understanding Concepts:

1.) Clinical Depression - is the most frequently encountered mental illness. Clinical depression is now considered a physical condition in which there is a fault in the brain chemistry. It may afflict up to 5% or more of the population. Symptoms of depression include a distinct change in mood accompanied with an extreme feeling of hopelessness. Other symptoms include: loss of appetite; weight loss; headaches; sleeplessness; loss of energy; and tiredness. Symptoms of anxiety are also quite common. Suicide is common in about 15% of depressed patients.

Bipolar Disorder - is also known as manic depression. It affects about 5 in 1000 people. It is characterized by severe mood swings ranging from mania to depression, with normal periods in between. During a manic phase, the individual may think that they are invincible, behave recklessly or believe in delusions such as ones of fame. During the depressive phase, the individual loses interest in their usual activities, may sleep excessively or suffer from insomnia. They may also be at risk of suicide during the depressive stage.

Schizophrenia - includes disturbance of thought patterns, disturbance of affective reactions and autism or withdrawal. Secondary symptoms include hallucinations, delusions and paranoia. These symptoms all represent a loss of contact with reality.

2.) Alcohol - is probably the most commonly abused drug in society. Of all abused drugs, it is presently the only one considered legal upon reaching of age. It has been a large part of our culture for many years and is often associated with social functions and celebrations. However, alcohol use definitely has its dark side. It is known to alter personalities and cause people to behave in manner outside their normal personalities. A night of abusing alcohol can lead embarrassment and regret once the effects have worn off. Poor judgment while drinking alcohol can lead to making deadly decisions such as drunk driving. Also, people have abused alcohol to the extent they vomit in their sleep and choke to death.

Marijuana - is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) works by binding to CB1 receptors found on presynaptic membranes in the brain. These receptors function in blunting pain. THC also causes the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine which elevates mood and controls muscle movements. It has the ability of enabling the user to block out pain, frustration or confusion. In high concentrations can cause hallucinations, anxiety, depression, and psychotic symptoms. Smoking marijuana can cause lung cancer, sinusitis, and bronchitis. It increases the level of carbon monoxide in the blood which, in turn, reduces the amount of oxygen reaching the heart. Long term use can result in: impaired speech; memory loss; difficulty in understanding complex ideas; insomnia; impaired visual perception; and infertility.

Cocaine - Cocaine is derived from the plant Erthoxylon coca and can be inhaled, smoked or injected. It results in a feeling of euphoria followed by depression. Cocaine acts by first stimulating the release of norepinephrine and dopamine and in higher doses the release of serotonin. Cocaine then interferes with the re-uptake of these neurotransmitters and these neurotransmitters build up in the synapse. Prolonged use will cause the body to produce less dopamine and the user will need more cocaine. Side effects include mental impairment, convulsions, hallucinations, stroke, heart attack and death.

Heroin - is a highly addictive derivative of morphine. It is normally injected but can also be snorted or smoked. It operates by binding to ophioid receptors in the brain in which natural chemical endorphins are involved in the relief of pain. Prolonged use can cause less endorphin production. Side effects include: depressed respiration; impaired coordination;...
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