HL2 Biology: E.4b Neurotransmitters & Personality

Psychoactive drugs

Drugs in general

  • chemical substances ingested/injected/inhaled by a person 
  • changes function of body

Psychoactive drugs

  • change function of brain
  • synapses are altered
    • excitatory drugs: promotes excitatory and inhibits inhibitory neurotransmitter transmission at synapses
    • inhibitory drugs: inhibits excitatory and promotes inhibitory neurotransmitter transmission at synapses
  • how synapses are altered
    • some drugs have similar chemical structure as the neurotransmitter
      • can bind to neurotransmitter receptors on the post-synaptic membrane and acts as a competitive inhibitor
      • usual effect is hindered as well
    • some drugs have similar chemical structure AND effect
      • can bind to neurotransmitter receptors on the post-synaptic membrane and acts as a competitive inhibitor
      • same effect is achieved but cannot be broken down so effect lasts longer
    • some drugs interfere with the recycling of neurotransmitters at a synapse
      • hinders breakdown and/or reabsorption into the pre-synaptic membrane
      • neurotransmitter’s effect is extended
  • examples
    • excitatory
      • nicotine
      • cocaine
      • amphetamines
    • inhibitory
      • benzodiazepines
      • alcohol
      • THC
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1 Comment

  1. Grade 5 A consistent and thorough understanding of the required knowledge and skills, and the ability to apply them in a variety of situations. The student generally shows evidence of analysis, synthesis and evaluation where appropriate and occasionally demonstrates originality and insight.

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