Drugs

Objectives:

  1. Discuss the nature of drug dependence and identify some common misconceptions about addiction.

  2. Describe the physiological and psychological effects of depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens.

  3. Discuss the factors that contribute to drug use.

  4. Describe the near-death experience and controversy over whether it provides evidence for a mind-body dualism.

Vocabulary:

Psychoactive drug – a chemical substance that alters perceptions and mood.

Tolerance – the diminishing effect with regular use of the same dose of a drug, requiring the user to take larger and larger doses before experiencing the drug’s effect.

Withdrawal – the discomfort and distress that follow discontinuing the use of an addictive drug.

Physical dependence – a physiological need for a drug, marked by unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when the drug is discontinued.

Psychological dependence – a psychological need to use a drug, such as to relieve negative emotions.

Depressants – drugs (such as alcohol, barbiturates, and opiates) that reduce neural activity and slow body functions.

Stimulants – drugs (such as caffeine, nicotine, and the more powerful amphetamines and cocaine) that excite neural activity and speed up body functions.

Hallucinogens – psychedelic (“mind-manifesting”) drugs, such as LSD, that distort perceptions and evoke sensory images in the absence of sensory input.

Barbiturates – drugs that depress the activity of the central nervous system, reducing anxiety but impairing memory and judgment.

Opiates – opium and its derivatives, such as morphine and heroin; they depress neural activity, temporarily lessening pain and anxiety.

Amphetamines – drugs that stimulate neural activity, causing speeded-up body functions and associated energy and mood changes.

LSD – a powerful hallucinogenic drug; also known as acid (lysergic acid diethylamide).

THC – the major active ingredient in marijuana; triggers a variety of effects, including mild hallucinations.