Addiction biology is the study of brain receptor chemistry. The interactions between nerve receptors, nerve synapses and drugs forms the basis for most treatments of brain disease. These same interactions are responsile for addiction.
Addiction is a response to receptor-ligand binding.
This is the model that best explains the effects drugs as well as those caused by hormones and neurotransmitters.
Nature provided cell membranes with receptors that recognize and bond with specific molecules. This capability allows cells to obey commands and to adapt to a changing environment. Proper interactions depend on functional molecules matching with its receptor on the membrane
Taste, color and odor molecules are wrapped inside a plant’s cells. These physical characteristics are determined by the chemical characters found in the whole plant. These plant compounds or ligands interact with neuronal receptors in the brain to initiate or block an activity.
Receptor- ligand binding is Nature’s on/off switches.
The coordination of these switches controls all brain activity, thoughts, and feelings.
The biological process by which all herbs, drugs and foods produce their effects is receptor binding. Improper receptor binding is responsible for most diseases and addictions.
Teenagers are threatened by the one two punch of sedentary life and addiction.
Addiction is a chronic process by which steady-state levels of a drug becomes incorporated into normal biology. Addiction requires the need for greater doses to achieve the same level of experience. This is termed tolerance. Unsatisfied, due to the absence of the drug, is known as dependence. Tolerance and dependence are the classical signs of drug addiction.
Alcohol, cocaine, opioids, nicotine, chocolate, fat and sugar, exert their effect by binding with neuronal receptors. Once the receptor binds to a ligand, a signal is transmitted to DNA enabling the synthesis of more such receptors. The more receptors formed determines the strength of the addiction.
Binding of specific neurons to ligands promotes the sensation of pleasure, the hardest emotion to resist. Cigarettes, narcotics, painkillers, mood elevators, tranquilizers, anti-anxiety, attention deficit drugs, alcohol and the many controlled substance analogs, create their addictions by stimulating an increase in the synthesis of the respective receptor.
Once receptors are formed, they wait for a ligand to bind with. Once bound, the destiny of the ligand-receptor complex can follow only one of two possible pathways.
Steroids enter the nucleus and bind with the DNA matrix to cause their effects. The other pathway is for the drug or substance to bind with cell membrane receptors, and from here, stimulate a second messenger to produce the intended effect.
Receptors embedded in membranes remain in a state of agitation until bound. When brain receptors are bound or stimulated, they produce euphoria. They become agitated and irritable when they are unbound.
Brain activity is needed to interpret all the sensory data received via the senses. Brain activity is directed by receptor bonding. An addiction occurs when receptors require foreign substances to bind to. The effect of these substances are to either instill euphoria, alter mood or dull pain. They accomplish this by mimicking the natural molecules that normally bind with these receptors (beta-endorphins), or by prolonging the effects of neurotransmitters like serotonin.
Olfactory, ocular and gustatory stimuli interact with receptors to produce the senses of smell, sight and taste.
Receptors become more sensitive to the stimuli, the more they are exposed to them.
Receptors become more sensitive when they exist in higher numbers.
The younger a person is, the most vulnerable they are to receptor recruitment and addiction.
Amphetamine stands for (alpha methyl phenyl ethyl amine). Due to its strong stimulatory effect, amphetamine is prescribed to treat narcolepsy, (a condition in which individuals repeatedly lapse into sleep), and attention deficit disorders (ADD and ADHD). These disorders are mostly diagnosed in children who are inattentive and impatient.
Amphetamine accentuates the ‘fight or flight’ response to stress, (increase in blood sugar and blood flow to muscles). This is due to its binding with catecholamine receptors which also cause an increase in blood pressure and reflex lowering of heart rate.
However, it is their effect in the brain that possess the greatest danger to good health. Amphetamines are strong appetite suppressants based on the drug’s binding with satiety neuron receptors in the hypothalamus.
The abuse potential and significant side effects of amphetamines preclude its use as a method to lose weight.
Through an alteration in delivery (Adderall), amphetamines have been made more acceptable, more effective and possibly even more addictive. Is the enhanced cerebral functioning that the drug produces good for the individual? Are the goals of better grades and improved job performance more important than long-term health? The answer in both cases is no.
Amphetamines are structurally similar to the neurotransmitter, norepinephrine and brain neurotransmitter, dopamine.
Amphetamines prolong synaptic activity.
Amphetamine, methamphetamine and dextroamphetamine, are all similar in effects.
Amphetamines are physically and psychologically addictive and cause psychiatric and cardiovascular problems.
Abusers of amphetamine drugs claim that it improves all aspects of life. In addition to enhanced focus and concentration sought for academic reasons, other abusers report sexual and spiritual revelations and still others who claim to hallucinate with the drug.
The increased activity that amphetamines cause in the brain, while improving short-term memory, creates many imbalances, free radicals and damaged receptors that impair long-term health. These effects may not be realized for decades.
In addition, other forms of amphetamines include ecstasy (XTC) otherwise known as MDMA (3,4-methylene dioxy methamphetamine).
Ecstasy is a cross between a psychostimulant and a mild hallucinogen. It is structurally related to mescaline and was first synthesized early in the twentieth century by the then fledgeling German pharmaceitical company, Merck.
Ecstasy promotes the feeling of empathy and inner peace. It is often sold at Rave events by dance-floor pharmacologists. Users claim to feel ‘connected’ and enlightened as well as euphoria, clarity, and self-insight.
Ecstasy heightens the powers of concentration and focus. This initial drug-induced epiphany fades with frequent use.
Methamphetamine produces the strongest effect on the central nervous system where it produces an increased feeling of power and alertness. Methamphetamine elevates one’s mood and instills a feeling of euphoria and reduced perception of fatigue.
Methamphetamine is structurally similar to dopamine and norepinephrine and produce its effects by prolonging the activity of these neurotransmitters.
Methamphetamine promote the release of dopamine and norepinephrine from their vesicles and hinders their deactivation.
The excess of dopamine that builds up in the synapse produce feelings of pleasure and euphoria.
The excess of norepinephrine is responsible for the increased alertness and anti-fatigue effects of amphetamines.
Methamphetamine, called speed or meth on the street is snorted, injected, swallowed, and smoked as ice or crank. Its use has reached epidemic proportions with emergency rooms treating its victims including those from ‘rave parties’.
Although its use is second to marijuana, the effects of methamphetamine are far more harmful than the herb. Its chronic binge and crash pattern, preferred by today’s abusers, is particularly dangerous.
The drug produces euphoria within minutes and begins to cause agitation shortly thereafter. The addictive potential of methamphetamine can not be overstated. It is a growing problem that will only be eradicated by better choices, not improved enforcement and prosecution.
In addition to its prescription only status, methamphetamine is routinely manufactured in basement laboratories and sold at trendy parties and clubs.
Restricting the sale of chemicals required in their synthesis has failed to stem illicit production. Bootleggers will always be able to find new ways to satisfy the appetite of today’s drugies.
Not to be cut out of the game they invented, pharmaceutical companies have found a way to to get in on the amphetamine business, it the form of adderall, a psychostimulant.
Adderall, according to many drug abusers, its the most satisfying and addictive substance they have ever tried. Adderall is very addictive. It is not uncommon for a month’s supply of the drug to be consumed in a matter of days or for an add-addict to go months without missing a day of abuse.
Adderall was approved in 1996 as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall is a Schedule II central nervous stimulant and appetite suppressant. Its Schedule II designation indicates that it has a strong potential for abuse.
In February of 2006, the FDA reported a a possible link between Adderall and heart attacks, high blood pressure and sudden death. The FDA's advisory committee also voted to require the label for the ADHD drugs Ritalin and Adderall to contain a black box warning. The warning informs consumers of the serious risks of sudden death.
Adderall is a combination of two salts each of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, a pharmaceutical version of a library of compounds. Their combined effect is to make the drug safer than any of the individual amphetamines.
Each salt has a different rate of metabolism and time before it is eliminated. This also allows the drug to be more effective over an extended period of time.
Adderall is prescribed to treat ADHD along with methylphenidate, the ingredient in Ritalin. Methylphenidate is now available as Daytrana, a slow releasing patch for children 6 -12 years of age. Will Adderall be next?
GenX discovered ecstasy, ketamine and GHB, babyboomers fondly remember methaqualone, LSD and black beauties. Adderall is today’s generation’s drug of choice.
Today’s twenty-somethings are prescribed serotonin reuptake inhibitors like prozac to improve mood or a cocktail of four amphetamines in the drug adderall to improve performance.
Adderall is used routinely by college students and represents today’s generation’s drug of choice. It is promoted as a drug that promotes academic enhancement.
Adderall contains four amphetamines, that’s four times the assault on neurons, heart muscle and liver cells.
Adderall is an exploding health problem because it is widely abused. Its effect on the brain results in a high degree of mental acuity, and ability to maintain focus and complete assignments. These effects are beneficial to academic success and so Adderal abuse does not trouble parents or educators. Adderall also represses appetite and is useful to anorexics. Non-ADHD Adderall users should eliminate this practice or at least minimize its frequency. Students who disregard this advice, must supplement their drug use with a selection of antioxidants including this that can cross the blood-brain barrier as well as protect the heart and liver.
Young adults often fake symptoms so they can be diagnosed with this condition. Their reward is an Adderall prescription. Over 4 million students are dependent on these drugs. How long before its abuse potential force the FDA to ban it? History is littered with examples of drug introduction, followed by abuse and subsequent restriction. The only question is how many minds will be affected and how much profit will realized before this is recognized.
Adderhall and Ritalin are abused by high school and college students. They abuse these drugs to lose weight, prepare for exams or get high. These drugs demonstrate that a serious problem is brewing among our children. Students report self-medicating with eight pills a day, selling them for cash and trading drugs for textbooks.
Adderall has only been around for ten years and prescribed to 40 million people, many of whom do not suffer from ADHD. Despite these numbers, the long-term effects of Adderall and other psychostimulants remain unknown but short-term use does not seem to be harmful.