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For many years people have been aware of chemical substances that can change peoples behavior by influencing their mood their sensations or their muscular coordination These chemical mind altering substances are known as psychoactive drugs PaD These PaD depending on their cultures were used for religious rituals to control pain or to raise ones energy during warfare As time went on more and more people became aware of these substances and a familiar pattern started to form People began using these chemical substances for pleasurable experiences How do drugs work For a drug to affect our behavior it has to get into our blood stream through ingestion inhalation absorption through the mucous membrane of the mouth or nose or injection with a hypodermic needle Once the PaD are in our bloodstream it starts to influence our behavior by altering the functioning of our central nervous system CNS After a period of hours the drugs influence gradually wears off as the liver produces enzymes that metabolize the drug Most PaD can be categorized into two major groups stimulants which enhance the activity of the CNS and depressants which slow down the activity of the CNS By understanding how the drugs affect the action of the dopamine is one of the key elements to understanding drug addiction It should also bring to your understanding how drugs affect our neurotransmitters Drugs that mimic or facilitate the action of a particular neurotransmitter are called agonists Drugs that block the action of a particular neurotransmitter are called antagonists Stimulants are the PaD that speed up or enhance the activity of the CNS Four very common stimulants are amphetamines cocaine nicotine and caffeine Here is a brief look at how they affect out CNS More
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