What if every time someone took drugs or alcohol it felt like this?
Based on the reasons we listed and their real effects on the mind and body, drugs must offer us something. In other words…
So…How do drugs work? In order to understand how drugs work, you have to understand how neurons work.
The basic neuron
Just like trees neurons are dynamic: they can change over time with experiences.
Neurons work together, and by signaling each other in networks, we learn to perceive our world.
Many of these networks are in parts of the brain that are specialized for different processing and perceptions
The way to understanding drug’s effects on the brain is to understand the chemical messages being sent by Neurons. Do you know the name of the chemical messengers in the brain?
You may have heard of some of the types of neurotransmitters.
All neurotransmitters have specific functions and roles in the brain. Science has identified over 100 different types of neurotransmitters but predict there may be many more.
So… how do neurotransmitters relate to the way drugs and alcohol work on our brains?
It is important to note that some drugs can actually provide benefits to certain individuals.
Obviously the answer is yes!
What is it called when we do something without the use of drugs/alcohol that makes us feel good, happy, relaxed, excited, or content?
Natural Highs … lead to positive addictions. (after slide animations) what are ways to achieve natural highs and what are some positive addictions?
Doing exciting things can release adrenaline and dopamine creating a controlled rush of energy and euphoria.
Because we are complex social organisms we have evolved a brain that allows us to reward ourselves for doing things for others.
Meditation releases stress by reducing/balancing stress hormones and releasing serotonin throughout the brain.
Regular strenuous exercise creates a complex natural high, releasing endorphins, dopamine and serotonin.
They keep us in the moment. They provide us with something to anticipate.Release dopamine, serotonin, adrenaline.
Other Natural Highs (before animation) spending time with your best friend, and there are many more.
So why don’t people just use natural highs instead of drugs and alcohol?
What are the side effects associated with Stress Reduction & Wellness management
2.8 2013 clrm brain studies
Drugs and the Brain
Whiskey bottles, and brand new cars Ooooh that smellOak tree youre in my way Cant you smell that smellTheres too much coke and too much smoke Ooooh that smellLook whats going on inside you The smell of death surrounds youOoooh that smell Hey, youre a fool youCant you smell that smell Stick them needles in your armOoooh that smell I know I been there beforeThe smell of death surrounds you One little problem that confronts youAngel of darkness is upon you Got a monkey on your backStuck a needle in your arm Just one more fix, Lord might do the trickSo take another toke, have a blow for your nose One hell of a price for you to get your kicksOne more drink fool, will drown you Ooooh that smellOoooh that smell Cant you smell that smellCant you smell that smell Ooooh that smellOoooh that smell The smell of death surrounds youThe smell of death surrounds you Ooooh that smellNow they call you Prince Charming Cant you smell that smellCant speak a word when youre full of ludes Ooooh that smellSay youll be all right come tomorrow The smell of death surrounds youBut tomorrow might not be here for you
Escape.Because of Stress. (tohelp relax)To reduce pain bothphysical andemotional (to feelbetter.)Curiosity.Recreation-excitement-energy.To be social/loseinhibitions/fit in.Addiction.
they work! If they didn’t …they do in fact create at least atemporary change in how we feel andact.
Brain Basics: The brain consists of manydifferent types of cells; the cells involved instoring and processing information are calledneurons.Your body and brain have over 100 billionneurons that communicate with each other.
Neurons communicate with each other throughout the brainand body by both electrical signals through the neuron andchemical messages between them. Neurons look a lot liketrees and their form fits their function.Think about what trees do over their life, they grow newbranches and roots. So do neurons.
Over time they grow to formnetworks of communications throughtheir branches.
These networks create our perceptions,thoughts, and memories.Consider the brain then as a forest ofspecialized cells (neurons) with pathways(connections) through it that take us todifferent experiences.
Some parts of the brain send or receivemessages from the body. (sensory and motorneurons)Some parts of the brain send and receivemessages to other parts of the brain.Some parts of the brain are analytical whileothers create our moods and emotions.All of these connections require that the brainuse chemical signals between the variousneurons.
The chemical messages are called neurotransmitters.The many types of neurotransmitters work on alock and key model.
Dopamine: A rewardneurotransmitter thatcauses parts of the brainto fire creating asensation of excitability,energy, power. Norepinephrine: (a chemical in adrenaline) causing hyper-vigilance and excitability.Serotonin: acalming, relaxing, focusing neurotransmitter thatis one of the mostcommon in the brain.
Substance P: signals pain in the brain.Endorphins: The body’s natural pain killers.
#1 The drug can chemicallyresemble and work like theactual neurotransmitter.#2 The drug can stimulateneurons to release theirneurotransmitters.#3 The drug can preventthe reuptake ofneurotransmitters by thesignaling neuron.
This is a common drugused at raves.It works by blocking thereuptake of theneurotransmitter,serotonin, causing anincrease in the amount ofserotonin to signal otherneurons in the brain to fire,changing their perceptions.The individual may thenexperience increasedenergy, euphoria, and thesuppression of certaininhibitions in relating toother people. In otherwords, they get high.
So… if drugs and alcohol work like the actualneurotransmitters or work with the brain, whythen can they be a bad choice for us?
Illegal-addictive-change perception to the point of intoxication causing people to make poor decisions-benefit is usually temporary-masks real issues we need to address-many have serious side effects both physical and emotional.It should also benoted that drugsalso can causeserious imbalancein neurotransmitterlevels in the brain.
When the brain chemistry becomes out ofbalance this can lead to mental/emotional disease and other brain disorders. These changes can become long lasting.
Prescription drugs to individuals suffering from a physical ormental disorder. They are controlled, monitored and legal.Many carry with them side effects. Despite side effects, thebenefits can outweigh the detriments of the drug.
If drugs and alcohol work by imitating, orreleasing more neurotransmitters; doesn’tthat mean the brain must already havethe ability to achieve feelings ofrelaxation, well being, energy andexcitability on its own?
Our brain has the potentialto reward itself.This is how we are oftenmotivated to do things thatrequire effort.Many people already takeadvantage of this on somelevel. You can too!
Legal in all 50 states. Created by your own brain chemistry without the useof drugs or alcohol.Work by the release of neurotransmitters underauthentic experiences.Are free of harmful physical and mental side effects.Can create positive addictions that benefit the overallwell being of the individual.
When we help othersour brain releasesendorphins, and the neurotransmitter dopamine,these neurotransmitters hit a brain reward button.
Regular daily meditation can create tremendousfeelings of well being, peace and tranquility that carryover into the rest of your day. How does it do it?
Regular strenuous exercise elevates energy, mood,endurance, and tremendous mind and body benefits.How does it do it?
College StudyIn a controlled study, college students who exercisedregularly decreased their binge drinking by 30%.Those who meditated decreased their binge drinking by30%.Those who both meditated and exercised regularlydecreased their binge drinking by 60%.How does it do that?
Hobbies/avocations let us escape theeveryday stressors.
Attending shows/concerts/movies.Performingmusic/plays/comedy/sporting events.TravelListening to music.Writing & ReadingGetting a massagePetsBeing outdoorsFalling in LoveCelebrations/partiesDancingCreating art.With whom do you spendhe most time?
Natural highs require some effort,knowledge and commitment. Find something you want and like to do. Work at it, practice it, learn about it. And you will be able to better achieve …