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Which Neurotransmitter Is Involved In Drug Addiction?

Drugs have the ability to change how we think, how we feel and how we behave. This is made possible by disrupting the neurotransmission, which is the process by which our nerve cells communicate with each other in the brain. Several studies have been conducted over the span of decades to establish that addiction and drug dependence are the features of organic brain disorder due to the cumulative impacts of substance abuse on neurotransmission.

Scientists now have reason to believe that psychological factors may contribute to substance use and abuse as well as the progression of the disorder. The findings also reveal the powerful leads for the development of behavioral treatments and more effective medications.

The Science Behind Neurotransmission

When a person reads the words on this page, the words enter his brain through his eyes and the information is converted and relayed between neurons to regions that can process the visual input into meaning and memory. When the information is inside the neurons, it takes the form of an electrical signal.

Neurons have tiny gaps or synapse in between them, thus the information takes on the form of chemical signals. Specialized molecules then carry this signals across the synapses. These molecules are called the neurotransmitters.

The ebb and flow of the neurotransmitters are called neurotransmission. This is an essential feature of our brain’s response to environment and experience. The idea of neurotransmission may be likened to a computer consisting of basic units and semiconductors organized into circuits. Just as the computer processes information from one unit to another using an electric current, the amount of current, as well as its route through the circuits, determine its final output.

The brain’s basic units are neurons, 86 billion neurons. The brain uses neurons to relay information using electricity. Like computers, the volume of these signals and routes in the brain also determine how we think, perceive, feel and function.

How Do Neurotransmitters Get The Message Across?

The aim of neurotransmitters is to convey signals coming from a sending neuron towards a receiving neuron across the open space between them. All neurons send the message approximately the same.

The sending cells that manufacture neurotransmitter molecules then stores them in packets known as vesicles. When these are stimulated sufficiently, neurons generate a signal causing some vesicles to migrate to the neuron membrane. These merge with it and open up, releasing their contents into the synapse. The released molecules drift across our synapse to link them up in a lock-and-key fashion with the receptors found on the surface of the receiving neuron.

The neurotransmitters’ interactions with the receptors may also set processes in motion that can potentially alter the structure of the receiving neurons either by raising (potentiate) or lowering (depress) them. How strong the neurons respond when the neurotransmitters are being linked to the receptors in the future are determined by these actions.

In the absence of drug use, the cycle of releasing, breaking up, and re-entering of neurons can maintain a number of neurotransmitters in the synapse. Thus, neurotransmission can remain within its limits. However, in cases when an addictive substance has entered the brain, the drug causes the neurotransmission to dramatically increase or decrease beyond its limits. Rehab can help you find the right addiction treatment center that accepts your insurance. Seek treatment now.



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