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The Effects of Stimulants on Your Consciousness A stimulant is a drug that stimulates your body and mind activity. Some of the most commonly used stimulants are caffeine, cocaine, amphetamines, and Ecstasy (MDMA, methylenedioxyamphetamines). Out of the above listed caffeine is the most widely used and has very mild side effects. Caffeine is found in coffee, teas, soda, and chocolate. Since we all know a lot about caffeine I will not be discussing it. However I will be covering my two personal favorites (just joking), cocaine and Ecstasy. Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant derived from Coca leaf found in many South-American countries. Cocaine can be injected, smoked, snorted, taken orally or free-based. Upon using the user receives an extremely euphoric feeling that usually lasts about a half-hour. Cocaine-induced euphoria is precipitated by blocking the normal flow of the chemical messenger dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that carries messages from one nerve cell, or neuron, to another or from one functional section of the brain to another. This neurotransmitter is associated with body movement, awareness, judgment, motivation, and pleasure. Dopamine flows from neurons into the synapses, or spaces between neurons, to form a temporary link that serves to transmit signals between neurons. Then, normally, after it has transmitted its signal to the neighboring neuron, it vacates these spaces, returning to the same neuron that released it in a recycling process called reuptake. Dopamine moves from the synaptic gap back inside the neuron by attaching to transporter molecules on the neuron's surface. Cocaine, however, attaches to the same transporter binding sites as dopamine. This means that, when cocaine is introduced, dopamine cannot bind to the dopamine transporter and is stranded in the synapses. Thus, cocaine's blocking action leads to an increase of dopamine levels in the synapses that normally produce feelings of pleasure. Cocaine's action intensifies these feelings into euphoria. Crystal meth-amphetamines is commonly known as the poor mans coke because it has basically the same effects on the user as cocaine except it lasts much longer (up to 8 hours) and is much cheaper. Crystal is a chemical drug also known as tweak, ice, speed, crank, etc. Crystal, due to its long lasting effects has also been known to cause hallucinations. Crystal also causes a euphoric effect but it is not as addictive as cocaine. MDMA, also known as; Ecstasy, E, and X, is a fairly fairly new drug in the drug scene. Ecstasy a relative of the amphetamine family, hence its full name of methylenedioxyamphetamines. MDMA also gives the user a feeling of well being. Ecstasy can be snorted, injected, or taken orally. MDMA is primarily a seritonergic drug. Serotonin (5-HT) is also one of the major neurotransmitters in the brain. Serotonin is thought to be responsible for many psychological (and physiological) states including mood and sleep. It has been particularly associated with major depression and obsessive compulsive disorder, and drugs to treat these disorders tend to effect 5-HT. MDMA blocks the reuptake of 5-HT, similarly to SSRI (serotonin specific reuptake inhibiting) anti-depressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline, and paroxetine. Unlike those drugs, however, MDMA appears to enter the neuron, either through passive diffusion or directly through the reuptake transporter, and causes the release of 5-HT. This release is calcium-independent (i.e. independent of the firing of the 5-HT neuron) and appears to come from cytoplasmic stores rather than from synaptic vesicles. The released 5-HT then enters the synaptic cleft through the 5-HT transporter. MDMA thus acts on 5-HT similarly to the way amphetamines act on dopamine. MDMA also releases dopamine, which may be central to both its psychological action and to its neurotoxicity in animal studies. MDMA tends to indirectly ignite the firing and release of dopamine. I hope I have demonstrated the effects of stimulants on your consciousness in an understanding matter. I found the subject a little more than confusing. I did have several ways to approach the subject but I couldn't approach it from all because it would have been 50 + pages but instead I have less than the minimum requirement, sorry!! Word Count: 683

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