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Drugs and their effect on the limbic system of the brain.

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Introduction

Drugs Most of the drugs that people abuse have their effect on the limbic system of the brain. The limbic system is located deep within the brain near the top of the brain stem. The limbic system produces the feelings of pleasure, pain, anger, and fear which characterize our emotions. All drugs of addiction work on our emotions. If a certain drug makes us feel very good, we tend to want to take that drug again and again. It is because of this temporary good feeling that we become psychologically addicted to a drug. Within the limbic system, drugs work on the brain by way of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals which allow our nerve cells to communicate with each other. Some of the neurotransmitters affected by drugs are serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. The class of drugs called stimulant drugs will usually make more a neurotransmitter(s) available to the brain. The class known as depressant drugs will usually make less of a neurotransmitter(s) available to the brain. Because our brain adjusts to this alteration in neurotransmitters, our brain may become physiologically (physically) dependent on some drugs. Although our brain can become physiologically dependent on a wide variety of drugs, the brain is more likely to become dependent on depressant drugs than on stimulant drugs. ...read more.

Middle

Cocaine can be sniffed through the nose (snorted), injected intravenously, or converted into a free base solid and smoked (crack). Cocaine is a stimulant drug which creates good feelings by increasing the supply of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the limbic system of the brain. Cocaine use creates feelings of great pleasure, energy, self-esteem, self-confidence, and invincibility. It depresses appetite, increases heart rate and raises blood pressure. While physical dependence to cocaine is small, psychological dependence is great. Cocaine use has a long history in America. At the turn of the century cocaine was an ingredient in soft drinks such as Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper. It is from this that Coca Cola got it name, as well as its nickname "Coke." Because cocaine works by stimulating pleasure circuits of the limbic system which use dopamine as a transmitter, the brain reads this extra dopamine as "too much" and shuts down the natural production of this neurotransmitter. When some people stop cocaine use, the brain soon increases its production of dopamine to near previous levels. However, in other people the brain never resumes normal production in dopamine, and the person has a permanent disability to experience normal emotional pleasure. ...read more.

Conclusion

As the vaporized alcohol goes through the coil it cools and condenses back into a liquid. If done correctly, a beverage containing about 90% alcohol can be distilled. The higher the alcohol content, the greater the potential for addiction. Alcohol is a depressant drug. This means that it lessens the effect of neurotransmitters in the nervous system. This causes one to slur their speech, lose the ability to react quickly, and lose the ability to coordinate movements of the body. This is why it is not a good idea to drink alcohol and drive. Movement (motor) coordination is impaired by alcohol, as is thinking and judgment. Research has shown that an blood-alcohol concentration of .08% is the level at which a person should not drive a car. This is the legal limit for blood-alcohol content for drivers in most states. It is very possible for a person to drink themselves to death. Death occurs because there is insufficient neurotransmitters for the nervous system to create breathing. Alcohol is a drug to which one develops tolerance. This means the more you drink, the more you are capable of drinking. While most people who drink alcohol do not become alcoholics, almost one in ten will develop alcoholism. Genetics has been shown to be an important factor in alcoholism. ...read more.

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