Psychotropic drugs can be either legal or illegal. legal drugs are used for medication purposes while illegal drugs are abused as either depressants or stimulants in non-medical circumstances. Furthermore, the drugs have the following categories. antipsychotics, hallucinogens, depressants and stimulant. Mental disorders, which are experienced by individuals, call for psychotropic medication. As much as this medication is used to treat mental disorders by improving the mental states of patients, some drugs lack the capacity of curing the disorder fully. In essence, psychotrophic or psychoactive drugs have a tremendous effect on the central nervous system, and this result in a change, in perception and behavior. This paper analyses the biological and behavioral effects of psychotropic medications.
The first category of psychotrophic drugs are the hallucinogens and examples are. lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana, psilocybin from mushrooms, mescaline, angel dust, phencyclidine (PCP) and datura. Hallucinogens interrupt the normal interaction between the neurotransmitter serotonin and the nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. This interruption entails the hallucinogenic drugs altering the brain’s normal processing of an individual’s emotional, visual and sensory information. Essentially, the drugs make normal and real situation seem unreal. Hallucinogens also tend to bring about high blood pressure, dilated pupils and increased heart rate in users. Long-term and dangerous effects of hallucinogens are. mood swings, flashback, impaired thinking, paranoia, anxiety, extreme euphoria and hallucinations and drug-induced psychosis (Coon & Mitterer, 2008).
Stimulants are the second category of psychotrophic drugs, and they have the following effects. high alertness, elevation of moods and increases feelings of well-being. Some examples of stimulants are. nicotine, 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstacy), cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamine and caffeine. Stimulants excite the central nervous system, as they reduce fatigue and drowsiness and boost mental alertness.
More specifically, the stimulants, caffeine, nicotine and amphetamine are catalysts that cause the excessive release of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine from the nervous system resulting in reduced fatigue, heightened concentrations and capacity of carrying out more work. On the other hand, cocaine blocks the pumping of the neurotransmitter dopamine, and this result in a buildup of the neurotransmitter between neurons. and thus, feelings of extra pleasure by an individual. The long-term effects of stimulants are. reduced appetite, insomnia, agitation, over-stimulation, anxiety, paranoia and seizures (Coon & Mitterer, 2008).
The third category of psychotrophic drugs are the depressants and examples of these drugs are. alcohol, marijuana, opiates (morphine and heroin), barbiturates, Gamma-hydroxyburate (GHB) and Benzodiazepines (tranquilisers). Depressants slow down the regular functions that are associated with the central nervous system and negatively affect the brains’ capability of controlling judgment, memory, coordination and decision-making.
Depressants increase the concentrations of the brain’s serotonin and norepinephrine levels through holding back their absorption. this brings about calm, mental excitement and a relaxing mood. Moreover, depressants such as alcohol activate inhibitory nerve pathways and deactivate excitatory nerve pathways. Depressants weaken the neurotransmitter, known as glutamine and enhance the activities of the inhibiting neurotransmitter known as GABA. The long term effects of depressants are. chronic fatigue, insomnia, difficulty in sexual-reproduction, damaging of the brain and vital organs, which are inclusive of. liver, kidneys and muscles (Coon & Mitterer, 2008).
The last category of psychotrophic drugs are narcotics, and the best examples are opiates. heroin and morphine. The human body has endogenous opioids that regulate the body’s reaction to stimuli, immune response, mood control and functions such as hunger and thirst. When the exogenous opioids. heroin and morphine, are introduced in the body engage with the endogenous opioids in the same receptors.
This reaction results in reduced excitation of the neurons thus the euphoric effect from the opiates. Moreover, exogenous opioids limit the release of GABA-inhibitory interneuron this results in an increased release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, and the outcome is increased pleasure and euphoria, reduced pain and relation. The long terms effects of narcotics on the body are. acne and skins infections, valve and heart diseases, a weakened immune system, respiratory diseases such as bronchitis and pneumonia (Coon & Mitterer, 2008).
Coon, Dennis. & Mitterer, John. (2008). Introduction to Psychology: Gateways to Mind and Behavior. Sydney: Cengage Learning.