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TEXEBOOK: Meyer & Quenzer 2n edition Psychopharmacology, Drugs, The Brain and Behavior.

No Plagairism please. Cite & Reference all work.

Objective 3: Identify the basic neurotransmitter systems of the brain.

The brain essentially works by sending electrochemical signals through various structures to other structures throughout the brain and the rest of the body. An electrical impulse is generated in the axon, which is then transmitted down the axon to the synapse. The synapse is a physical gap between two neurons and to propagate that impulse to the next neuron, the impulse is changed from an electrical signal to a chemical signal and carried across that gap by a chemical messenger. In the brain, that chemical messenger is referred to as a neurotransmitter. Many drugs, both legal and illegal, affect various neurotransmitters in different ways. All substance abuse counselors need rudimentary knowledge of neurotransmitters.

Learning Activity #5: Neurotransmitters Response

  • Write a one-page response identifying which neurotransmitters are affected by alcohol opiates, cocaine, and marijuana.
  • APA formatting is only required for citing sources and references.

Learning Activity #6: The Great Debate Response

  • Choose a drug frequently abused and become more familiar with it in the scope of users and medical personnel.
  • Write a 1-2 page response to the following points.
    • From a pharmacokinetic standpoint, why the drug you have chosen is the “best drug” to use if you were a person with a Substance Use Disorder. So for instance if you choose alcohol, you could argue that “it’s the easiest to use. I don’t need special equipment like pipes or razors or needles. Hey, I don’t even need a glass. I could drink it straight out of the bottle.”
    • Next present an argument as to why, from a pharmacodynamic standpoint if you were a person with a Substance Use Disorder, why it is the “best” drug to use.So for instance if you choose opiates you would argue that the euphoria produced by the drug is the “best high” in the world.
    • Lastly, present an argument based on the side effects as to why this substance is the absolute worst substance to use. So for instance if you choose methamphetamine, you would argue about its addiction liability, its effect on the human body, its effect on the family, etc.
  • APA formatting is only required for citing sources and references.

Objective 5: Compare and contrast drug abuse, drug dependence, and drug addiction.

Substance use represents a continuum of behaviors from complete abstinence to addiction. For example, if a cancer patient is given large doses of narcotics to control pain he or she will become physically dependent on that narcotic but is not necessarily an addict. Addiction is a brain disease in which substances of abuse change the brain in two fundamental ways, both structurally and functionally.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has been changed from its predecessor the DSM-IV-TR. The DSM-IV-TR set forth criteria for both substance abuse and dependence. In the DSM-5 these criteria have been substantially changed, being merged into a Single Category of “Substance Use Disorder, mild moderate, severe” based on how many criteria are present. It is the thinking patterns that go along with active addiction that differentiate a true addict from the cancer patient who becomes only physically dependent on a substance. In addition, the substance used by the person is named first, for instance “Alcohol Use Disorder, Mild” or “Cocaine Use Disorder, Severe.” This makes sense since research using general population studies showed the most common way for a substance use disorder to be diagnosed is using the 11 criteria established in the DSM 5 which indicate a pattern of hazardous use by the individual. It makes even more sense, since under the DSM-IV-TR, substance abuse was often viewed as a prodromal state for substance dependency. New research in the last decade, however, has shown this not to be true.

Learning Activity #7: The Continuum of Use Paper

  • Discover at least one scholarly article on the topic of the continuum of use and why the DSM-5 now reflects this view.
  • Write a 3-page paper that analyzes the article.
  • To achieve maximum points for content and analysis, the following elements need to be thoroughly addressed:
  • An outline of the article’s message / information.
  • Discussion of literature that supports the scholarly paper.
  • The outcome if the article you selected was a study.
  • Your opinion of the article based on personal experience.
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