Psychology and Drugs Essay

The three different classes of drugs are Stimulants, Depressants and Hallucinogens drugs. Stimulant drugs have many side effects such as having increased confidence, mood elevation, sense of energy and alertness, decreased appetite, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, transient drowsiness and even delayed orgasm. An example of a Stimulant drug is Cocaine. Cocaine is inhaled or what some people would call, “snorted”, through the nose, smoked, or injected directly into the blood stream with a needle in the vein. It is rapidly absorbed into the body and takes effect almost immediately.

When one uses cocaine, it produces feelings of deep psychological well being, increase in confidence, and alertness. Cocaine produces this “high” through the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is one of the chemicals that are related to ordinary feelings of pleasure. When cocaine enters the brain, it blocks absorption of leftover dopamine. As a result, the brain is flooded with dopamine produced pleasurable sensations. A major downfall for the use of cocaine is the brain may become permanently rewired; triggering a psychological and physical addiction in which users grow obsessed with obtaining the drug.

Over time, users deteriorate mentally and physically and can lead to death. Another example of stimulant drugs is Amphetamines. Dexedrine and Benzedrine are associated with this class of drug. These drugs stimulate the central nervous system and produce a sense of energy and alertness, talkativeness, heightened confidence, and a mood know as “high. ” As well as increase concentration and reduce fatigue. Amphetamines also can cause a loss of appetite, increased anxiety, and irritability. When amphetamines are taken over a long period of time, it can cause feelings of being persecuted and general sense of suspiciousness.

People who take amphetamine drugs also may lose an interest in sex. In some cases if taken in too large of a quantity, amphetamines can over stimulate the central nervous system to such an extent that they may cause convulsions and death. The second class of drug is Depressants. Depressant drugs obstruct the nervous system by inhibiting the firing of neurons. Even small doses of depressants can result in at least temporary feelings of intoxication; also know as drunkenness, along with a sense of excitement and joy.

When large amounts are taken, however, speech can become slurred and muscle control becomes disjointed, making motion difficult. Ultimately, heavy users may lose consciousness entirely. The most popular example of depressant drug is alcohol. Alcohol is used by more Americans than any other drug. Although alcohol is a depressant, most people claim that it increases their sense of sociability and well being; but as the dose of alcohol increases, the depressive effects become more pronounced. People may feel emotionally and physically unstable.

They also may show signs of poor judgment and may act aggressively. Moreover, memory is impaired, brain processing of spatial information is diminished, and speech becomes slurred and incoherent. Eventually, they may fall into a stupor and pass out. If one drinks enough alcohol in a short period of time, they may die of alcohol poisoning. A second example of a depressant drug is sedatives. Sedatives are depressant drugs that reduce irritability and have a calming effect. Barbiturates, usually prescribed to induce sleep or reduce stress, Seconal and Phenobarbital produce a sense of relaxation.

They have a high potential for abuse and overdose. Newer classes of drugs, the benzodiazepines have largely replaced barbiturates for short- term treatment of anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal. Like barbiturates, benzodiazepines, which include Xanax and Valium, are prescription drugs to be used only under a doc-tor’s supervision. Another benzodiazepine, Rohypnol, is a short- acting sedative that is sometimes called the “date rape drug. ” When mixed with alcohol, it can prevent victims from resisting sexual assault.

Sometimes people who are unknowingly given the drug are so incapacitated that they have no memory of the assault. Rohypnol cannot be prescribed or sold legally in the United States. Nonbenzodiazepines such as Ambien and Lunesta differ chemically from the benzodiazepines but produce similar effects. Generally prescribed to treat insomnia, these drugs are also less likely to produce physical dependence than benzodiazepines and barbiturates. The last class of is Hallucinogens. Hallucinogens are drugs that are capable of producing hallucinations, or changes in the perceptual process.

An example, and probably the most popular of a hallucinogen drug, is Marijuana, also known as Cannabis. The most active ingredient is cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The effects of marijuana vary from person to person, but they typically consist of feelings of euphoria and general well being, like most of the drugs I mentioned earlier. During a high on cannabis, sensory experiences seem more vivid and intense, and a person’s sense of self importance seems to grow. Memory may be impaired, causing users to feel pleasantly “spaced out. However, the effects are not generally positive. Individuals who use marijuana when they feel depressed can end up even more depressed, because the drug tends to magnify both good and bad feelings. More side effects from heavy use of cannabis are decreases in the production of the male sex hormone testosterone, potentially affecting sexual activity and sperm count; smoke damages the lungs much the way cigarette smoke does, producing an increased likelihood of developing cancer and other lung diseases.

Despite the risks associated with it, marijuana has several medical uses. It helps to prevent nausea from chemotherapy, treat some AIDS symptoms, and relieve muscle spasms for people with spinal cord injuries. Several states have made the use of the drug legal if it is prescribed by a physician— although it remains illegal under U. S. federal law. A second example of a Hallucinogen drug is MDMA, also know as Ecstasy. Ecstasy affects the operation of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, causing an alteration in brain cell activity and perception.

Users of Ecstasy report a sense of peacefulness and calm. People on the drug also report experiencing increased empathy and connection with others, as well as feeling more relaxed, yet energetic. Although the data are not conclusive, some researchers have found declines in memory and performance on intellectual tasks associated with Ecstasy use, and such findings suggest that there may be long term changes in serotonin receptors in the brain.