Effect of Drugs on Neurotransmitters and the Brain
The brain is an amazing, finely tuned organ as it is delicate and durable simultaneously. The brain is able to withstand a great deal of abuse and still find a way to balance the body’s functions, but with a constant onslaught of toxins, the brain’s ability to rebound is diminished. While the capacity to return to somewhat normal functioning is astounding, deficits caused by toxins can be permanent.
How does the brain communicate with the body?
The brain uses cell transmission to communicate one cell to the next, one muscle or organ to the next. There are nerve cells, neurons, which send out messages through signals or synapses. Messages are sent through the release of chemicals known as neurotransmitters. The strength of these neurotransmitters will determine the ability of cells to effectively communicate. Proteins, another chemical known as receptors, are responsible for controlling the neurotransmitters. The health of the synapses, the accurate amount of chemicals or neurotransmitters and the proper functioning of the receptors, will determine our ability to learn and to retain memories.
When we feel fear, the receptors receive a message and release a chemical neurotransmitter. That neurotransmitter makes us feel and experience rapid heart rate, sweating, shortness of breath, etc. When we add drugs and alcohol to the system, it travels through the body through the blood and into the brain altering the synapses, the functioning of the neurons, the neurotransmitters, and the receptors.
Recent studies have discovered that there are chemicals that also control the volume of the signals. The alpha-7 receptor is important to the strength of the signal. Drugs and alcohol act upon the brain taking control of the neurotransmitters, the neurons, and the receptors.