Thursday, February 9, 2012
Mechanisms by which drugs do they act?
The drugs act on neurotransmitters, disrupting their operation:
- Taking their place in the receivers because their structure is close. For example, morphine binds to endorphin receptors, nicotine on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Over time, if drug use is regular, the natural production of neurotransmitters is reduced in response to these phenomena, and the lack of physical sensation appears.
- Helping to increase production, such as cocaine, which increases the secretion of dopamine, or ecstasy for the production of dopamine and serotonin. This leads to reduced sensitivity of receptors to these products because they are quickly "saturated": the higher doses is needed to achieve the same effect.
- By blocking the receptors for some neurotransmitters, in the case of alcohol, for example
And the dopamine reward circuit
Thus, the brain areas involved have their operation modified, because the signals they receive are not the same.
The effects of the drug depend on the area of the brain involved, because it is sensitive to the neurotransmitter target and the nature of the disturbance it causes.
In particular, there is a reaction triggered by dopamine in the limbic system, which consists of brain structures that play a role in the behavior (vital functions) and various emotions, especially fun.
This reaction involves the stimulation of this system, the origin of a reward circuit that causes sensations of pleasure and well-being.
Most drugs work by increasing dopamine production: these sensations are then exacerbated by the greater stimulation of the reward system.
Drugs lead to a certain physical and psychological dependence, particularly the so-called hard drugs. Moreover, many adults but also teens are tempted by these experiences "extreme", which not without consequences on the brain. Explanations ...
Neurotransmitters in the brain
Communication between nerve cells, neurons, is performed using chemicals, neurotransmitters or neurotransmitter.
Thus, nerve impulses arriving to a neuron is propagated in the axon (an extension of the neuron), and causes the release of a neurotransmitter that is released in what is called the synapse, which is the area junction between two neurons.
The neurotransmitter and will bind to specific receptors on the cell membrane of the receiving neuron, which in turn will by the same mechanisms, the propagation of nerve impulses.
Neurotransmitters may be of different natures: the main consist of serotonin, dopamine and acetylcholine. Different regions of the brain, the proportion and number of receptors vary.
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