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Study Psych Drugs

Study Psych Drugs

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MENTAL HEALTH & PSYCHOTROPIC DRUGS
THE BRAIN
Functions:
Mental disturbances can affect any of these functions of the brain:
\u2022Regulation of skeletal muscle contraction;
\u2022Initiation and regulation of basic drives (sex, hunger, thirst, aggression);

\u2022Conscious sensation;
\u2022Memory;
\u2022Mood;
\u2022Thought;

\u2022Regulation of sleep cycle;
\u2022Language
Structure:

Since all of these brain functions are carried out by similar mechanisms and are
often in similar locations, mental disturbances are often associated with
alterations in other brain functions as are the drugs used to treat them.

Page 1 of 12
FRONTAL LOBE
Thought Processes

Intelligence
Social Judgment
Voluntary Motor Ability

TEMPORAL LOBE
Auditory Processes

Language
Memory
Connects with Limbic

PARIETAL LOBE
Sensory & Motor

Abstract Thought
Proprioception
Reading/Math
Right/Left Orientation

OCCIPTAL LOBE
Vision

Visual Association
Visual Memory
Language Formation

CEREBELLUM
Balance & Coordination
Maintains Equilibrium
Coordinates Skeletal Muscle
Contraction
Cerebral Cortex
White Matter
MIDBRAIN
Pupilary reflexes
Eye movement
PONS
Auditory Pathway
MEDULLA OBLONGATA
Reflex Centers

Balance
Heart rate
Respirations
Cough, swallow, sneeze
Blood pressure
Vomiting

NERVOUS SYSTEM
Sympathetic
Dominant division of the autonomic nervous system in stress situations.
Norepinephrine is the primary neurotransmitter of the sympathetic nervous

system.
\u201cFight or Flight\u201d
Effects:

\u2022Dilated pupils
\u2022Increased salivary flow
\u2022Increased heart rate
\u2022Constricted arterioles
\u2022Dilated bronchi
\u2022Decreased digestion and intestinal motility
\u2022Decreased urinary bladder activity

Parasympathetic
Acetylcholine is the primary neurotransmitter of the parasympathetic

nervous system.
\u201cFeed and Breed\u201d or \u201cRest and Digest\u201d
Effects:

\u2022Undilated pupils
\u2022Decreased salivary flow
\u2022Decreased heart rate
\u2022Dilated arterioles
\u2022Undilated bronchi
\u2022Increased digestion and intestinal motility
\u2022Increased urinary bladder activity

Mental Disturbances
May affect sympathetic and/or parasympathetic nervous systems in non-
normal ways.

Stress: Sympathetic nervous system initiates the release of CRH
(corticotropin-releasing hormone), which causes the pituitary to
release ACTH (adrenal corticotropin hormone), which causes the
adrenal cortex to release cortisol. However, all three hormones
influence the functions of the nerve cells in the brain. In mental
illness, depression and anxiety, the normal negative feedback
loop for these hormones does not appear to work.

Anxiety: May activate both parasympathetic nerves (hypermotility of GI,
diarrhea) and sympathetic nerves (vasoconstriction,
hypertension) simultaneously.

Nerve Communication

Communication of information between neurons is accomplished by movement of chemicals across a
small gap called the synapse. Chemicals, called neurotransmitters, are released from one neuron at the
presynaptic nerve terminal. Neurotransmitters then cross the synapse where they may be accepted by
the next neuron at a specialized site called a receptor. The action that follows activation of a receptor site
may be either depolarization (an excitatory postsynaptic potential) or hyperpolarization (an inhibitory
postsynaptic potential). A depolarization makes it MORE likely that an action potential will fire; a
hyperpolarization makes it LESS likely that an action potential will fire. (Chudler, University of Washington)

There are four elements involved in nerve-to-nerve or nerve-to-muscle communication:
(1) Production or existence of a neurotransmitter;
(2) Release of the neurotransmitter;
(3) Reception of the neurotransmitter by another nerve or cell; and
(4) Inactivation of the neurotransmitter

Changing any one of the four elements can change the results.
Neurotransmitter (NT): Definition: A chemical that modifies or results in the transmission of nerve
impulses between two synapses. (Mosby\u2019s Dictionary, 7th ed., 2006)

Different types of chemicals may act as neurotransmitters: small molecules (like the monoamines such as serotonin), amino acids (such as GABA), neuroactive peptides (such as endorphins), and soluble gases (such as nitric oxide).

NT Release:

Neurotransmitters are made in the cell body of the neuron and then transported
down the axon to the axon terminal. Molecules of neurotransmitters are stored in
small "packages" called vesicles. Neurotransmitters are released from the axon
terminal when their vesicles "fuse" with the membrane of the axon terminal,
spilling the neurotransmitter into the synaptic cleft. (Chudler, University of Washington)

Reception of NT:

The NT will only bind to post-synaptic cell receptors that recognize them. If these
receptors are altered or blocked, then the NT will not bind and the NT action will
be prevented.

Inactivation of NT:
There are three mechanisms for inactivating a NT.
(1) Diffusion: The unbound NT molecules drift away from the synaptic cleft to
sites that do not recognize them.
(2) Enzymatic Deactivation: Specific enzymes bind with the NT molecules and
change their shape so they will no longer be recognized by the receptors.
(3)Reuptake: The neuron that released the NT can take back the whole NT

molecule removing it from the cleft. The NT will then be destroyed by an intracellular enzyme (such as monoamine oxidase) or be recycled for use later.

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