Addiction and the Human Brain Essay
Our brain uses neurons, neurotransmitters, receptors, and transporters to communicate. Electrical impulses called neurons send and receive messages. The electrical impulses are made of chemicals called neurotransmitters to send messages while the receptors are a chemical that receives messages. The neurotransmitter and receptor work together to ensure that a specific message is transmitted accurately. To end the process of communication, neurotransmitters are finally recycled by transporters. The transporter carries the neurotransmitter back to the original cell from which it was released. By doing this, the signal between neurons is eliminated (Volkow, 2010). The use and abuse of drugs seriously affects this network of communication in our brain.
What do Drugs do to the Brain?
Brain function is based on chemical interactions. The introduction of drugs – whether illicit or licit – changes the brains chemicals and therefore changes the behavior of how natural brain chemicals interact with each other. For example, marijuana and heroin are similar enough in chemical composition that they can actually trick the brain into behaving like a neurotransmitter, which leads to abnormal messages being transmitted (Volkow, 2010). Excessive amounts of the neurotransmitter dopamine are triggered by the