SynThin.jpg Synapses - sites of drug action and addiction
Psychoactive drugs (those which affect mood, mental processes, the mind) exert their actions at the synapse
  • Visit this [[ |Wikipedia]] page for a good introductory coverage of the classes of psychotropic substances, their uses and abuses and a brief history. Psychoactive drugs have been used by societies since the dawn of time for a whole range of reasons from religious ceremonies to medication of disease states.
  • DrugFX2.jpgCLick and go ... (right click and open new tab to still retain this page)
    Make sure to play the mouse party in the amphetamines section to better understand what happens within a synapse when drugs are present.
  • Addiction.jpgCLICK and go...
    Look for this link-picture on the destination site and review ADDICTION - In that section there are numerous additional links to click and view. Make sure to check out "crossing the Divide" which provides great animations to help with the concept of sending and receiving neurons as well as a brief outline of excitation and inhibition in nerve cell communication.
    ANIMATIONS are a great way to assist grasping the concepts involved in neurotransmission. Here you will also learn that when a neurotransmitter binds to its receptor on the postsynaptic membrane that some receptors, rather than being directly associated with opening an ion channel as part of their receptor structure, can promote the release of small molecules in the receiving cell called 'secondary messengers' and these substances are then responsible for opening ion channels in the receiving cells. That is, neurotransmitter receptors can either be part of a channel for ions to cross the membrane or switch on biochemical reactions that lead to opening other specific ion channels nearby in the postsynaptic membrane.
  • DrugAct.jpg