Introduction: A Dream of Soups and Sparks

PART I  Chemical Neurotransmission

Synaptic Transmission Involves a Complex Electrochemical Process

Many Neurotransmitters Have Been Identified

RESEARCHERS AT WORK: The first transmitter to be discovered was acetylcholine

Neurotransmitter Systems Form a Complex Array in the Brain

Four amine neurotransmitters modulate brain activity

Many peptides function as neurotransmitters

Some neurotransmitters are gases

PART II  Drug Actions in the Brain

Drugs Fit Like Keys into Molecular Locks

The effects of a drug depend on its dose

Drugs are administered and eliminated in many different ways

Repeated treatments may reduce the effectiveness of drugs

Drugs Affect Each Stage of Neural Conduction and Synaptic Transmission

Some drugs alter presynaptic processes

Some drugs alter postsynaptic processes

PART III  Psychopharmacology: Effects of Drugs on Behavior

Some Neuroactive Drugs Ease the Symptoms of Psychiatric Illness

Antipsychotics relieve symptoms of schizophrenia

Antidepressants reduce chronic mood problems

Anxiolytics combat anxiety

Opiates have powerful painkilling effects

Some Neuroactive Drugs Are Used to Alter Conscious Experience

Cannabinoids have many effects

Stimulants increase neural activity

Alcohol acts as both a stimulant and a depressant

Hallucinogens alter sensory perceptions

Substance Abuse and Addiction Are Global Social Problems

Competing models of substance abuse have been proposed

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS: Medical Interventions for Substance Abuse