Psychoactive drugs affect the
brain and personality by
either increasing or
decreasing post synaptic
transmission. Click the
following drugs to see how
they affect your brain and
• increases stimulation in
• affects Serotonin
pathways responsible for
mood, sleep, perception,
• indirectly affects the
reward pathways of the
brain which creates the
addictive property of the
• Heroin mimics the natural opiates and binds
to opiate receptors blocking the inhibitors
from exiting. This results in the lack of
inhibiters from the dopamine
neurotransmitters causing them to flood out
into the synaptic cleft where they bind again
and again to the dopamine receptors
increasing the stimulation in the cell.
• The release of dopamine in the synaptic
cleft results in the immediate feeling of
sedation and well-being.
• The heroin molecules are affecting the area
responsible for pain signal, stress response,
and emotional attachment.
• Heroin can also act as a painkiller.
Excitatory Psychoactive Drug
Inhibitory Psychoactive Drug
• Before Marijuana enters the system, inhibitory neurotransmitters are
active in the synaptic cleft stopping the dopamine molecules from
• "Activated by body's own native cannabinoid (called
anandamide), cannabinoid receptors turn off the release of inhibitory
neurotransmitters. Without inhibition, dopamine can be released."
• THC, active chemical in Marijuana, mimics anandamide binding to
the cannabinoid receptors. This leads to the inability of the inhibitory
neurotransmitters to go out to stop the release of the dopamine
molecules in the synaptic cleft.
• "Anandamide is known to be involved in removing unnecessary
short term memories. It is also responsible for slowing down
movement, causing people to become relaxed and calm."
• "THC is not able to break down very quickly in the body the way
anandamide does. This explains the reason why amnandamide does
not produce a perpetual nature 'high'."
• "the abuse of the drugs
leads to some changes in
the structure and the
function of the brain."
• Overtime, the continuous
drug abuse makes
changes in the brain that
"can affect a person's self-
control and ability to make
sound decisions, and at
the same time create an
intense impulse to take
• Although it is difficult to break free once an individual is
addicted, it is many times due to societal factors that many
start using in the first place
• Peer pressure is a common factor that plays a role for many
teenagers’ decision to start taking drugs due to their attempt
to fit in a particular group of people.
• Some use drugs due to a medical condition but later
continue to abuse the drug. These medical conditions may
include depression or serious injury where drugs are used
• Some also start using drugs to escape from their reality and
their problems. It can be their short term cure from all their
worries but then they continue abusing the drugs to avoid all
the problem as long as possible.
• " Drugs are chemicals that tap into the brain's communication
system and disrupt the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and
process information. There are at least two ways that drugs are able
to do this: by imitating the brain's natural chemical
messengers, and/or over stimulating the "reward circuit" of the
• Drugs such as "marijuana and heroin, have a similar structure to
chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters, which are naturally
produced by the brain. Because of this similarity, these drugs are
able to 'fool' the brain's receptors and activate nerve cells to send
• Ecstasy, cocaine, and methamphetamine are highly addictive
because it directly affects the reward pathway of the brain making the
• Drug Abuse and Addiction Causes,
Symptoms, and Prevention Facts.
(n.d.). WebMD - Better information.
Better health.. Retrieved October 7,
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Retrieved October 7, 2013, from
• Activities, t. e., & will, t. s. (n.d.). The
Brainâ€”Lesson 4â€”Drug Abuse and
Addiction (Page 1 of 2). NIH Office of
Science Education (OSE). Retrieved
October 7, 2013, from