When taken, drugs will alter the normal the bodily functions. That is no news to even those who use drugs of abuse, in fact the basic definition of a drug is; any substance that when taken will interfere with the normal functions of the body. However some drugs do not only alter minor body functions but go a step further in inhibiting the functions of neurotransmitters to a greater extent. Most of the drugs that can mimic or interfere with the functions of the neurotransmitters in any way are mostly drugs of pleasure that are prone to abuse and are hence illegal in many parts of the world. The brain and the entire nervous system functions in a way that the entire body needs them to work properly, you can’t imagine how fast the coordination between the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system is but most important fact to note is that any interference within the nervous system even only to a neurotransmitter goes a long way in affecting the entire body. The brain has various mechanisms through which it accomplishes all the functions of the body. The effect of drugs on the neurotransmitters can be underestimated by those who haven’t known how the neurotransmitters work, here is how the neurotransmitters work.
Neurotransmitters are very crucial in the nervous system. They are the chemicals that transmit messages from one nerve cell to another. Nerve cells are known as neurons. The nerve impulse travels from the first nerve cell through the axon, a single smooth body arising from the nerve cell to the axon terminal and the synaptic knobs. Each synaptic knob communicates with a dendrite or cell body of another neuron, and the synaptic knobs contain neurovesicles that store and release neurotransmitters. The synapse lies between the synaptic knob and the next cell. For the impulse to continue traveling across the synapse to reach the next cell, the synaptic knobs release the neurotransmitter into that space, and the next nerve cell is stimulated to pick up the impulse and continue it. An interference with the neurotransmitters can adversely affect the flow of message within the nervous system. This is what most drugs of abuse do. They affect the harmonious flow of information from the brain to the rest of the body maiming its normal functions. Let’s look at how drugs affect specific neurotransmitters in the nervous system.
One of the neurotransmitters that are highly targeted by drugs of pleasure is Dopamine. To some people it is known as the ‘bliss neurotransmitter’. It is responsible for good feeling, the euphoric feelings that drug addicts seek from various drugs of abuse. Dopamine has great influence on well-being, alertness, learning, creativity, attention and concentration. Levels of dopamine should be optimal in the brain since when the level of dopamine is low it can leave us craving food, sex or stimulation. When the dopamine level is too high it can cause addictive behaviors. It has been observed that patients who are put on medications to boost dopamine level especially the Parkinson’s patient, they will form an addictive behavior like gambling when the levels of dopamine shoots beyond the optimal level. Dopamine boosts the feelings of pleasure but when the levels are too high it may result in Paranoia or a suspicious personality. Dopamine is also released when there is high stress. Therefore the level of dopamine should be regulated to ensure sound health. This is where the functions of inhibitory neurotransmitters set in, however with influence of drugs this coordination between excitatory neurotransmitters and inhibitory neurotransmitters is maimed.
Nicotine influences mood, cognition, and body function by binding to and activating nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) located on neurons in the brain. When activated by either nicotine or the endogenous neurotransmitter acetylcholine, the nAChR opens a channel that allows ions to pass through the neuron’s membrane from the exterior to the interior of the cell and trigger changes that activate the cell. When you take tobacco or other drug with nicotine the nicotine will have interactions with nAChRs and therefore any nicotine dependence treatment should focus on altering these interactions.
Nicotine produces rewarding effects by interacting with nAChRs on neurons in the brain’s mesolimbic reward system. This system comprises dopaminergic neurons that originate in the ventral tegmental area often shortened as VTA and release the neurotransmitter dopamine in regions involved in information processing, memory, and emotions, such as the nucleus accumbens (NAc), hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex (PFC). Increases in dopamine levels within the mesolimbic system give rise to rewarding effects. Nicotine directly enhances dopamine levels in the mesolimbic system by interacting with nAChRs on the dopaminergic neurons and causing them to release more of the neurotransmitter. Nicotine also modulates dopamine release indirectly by binding to nAChRs located on excitatory glutamatergic and inhibitory gamma aminobutyric acid (GABAergic) neurons in the ventral tegmental area. These glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons originate from a number of brain areas, such as the NAc, hippocampus, PFC, amygdala, ventral pallidum, and pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus, and regulate the activity of dopaminergic neurons.
Nicotine is one of the most available addictive substances. You can find it in tea but it can be found in greater proportions. Unfortunately, Nicotine addiction is never easy to fight. And the bitter truth is that nicotine addiction can’t be fought successfully without IV amino acid to restore NER balance. IV amino acids are the best in restoring the balances in the neuroendocrine system. The IV amino acids are the best in detoxification and getting rid of the effects of nicotine and curbing nicotine addiction by ensuring the balance of neuroendocrine chemicals. With IV amino acid, dopamine has been noted to be the major cause of addiction can be regulated. IV amino acids is used as an outpatient program which focuses on biochemical detoxification of the body and brain hence perfect treatment for nicotine addiction.
Any addiction treatment must focus on restoring the general well-being of the patient that can only be achieved by restoring the neurotransmitters affected. This is why we at AWAREmed are dedicated to ensuring that we offer the best neuroendocrine restoration. Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) is one of the few doctors that have embraced the benefits of NER in fighting addiction. Call on her and be helped in finding the best solution for nicotine and other substances addiction.