Nursing Essay on Effects of Stimulants on the Brain
Stimulants are drugs that influence the brain and body. After consuming the drugs, the brain becomes more active in terms of alertness. Many of them such as nicotine and cocaine are harmful and the human body becomes addicted to them. Stimulants do have severe effects on people who abuse them. They lead to an increase in alertness, attention and energy levels.
However, this is accompanied by a high blood pressure, raised heart rate and brain damage (Riddle, Fleckenstein, &Hanson, 2005). It is a common practice that such changes pose a danger to the consumers’ health. Therefore, it has raised concerns paving the way to the study of the effects of stimulants. In particular, nicotine and cocaine have caused anxiety that calls for the enhanced awareness. Knowledge of the effects of stimulants would help people to look after their health. Hence, they would avoid using stimulants.
Nicotine is a drug that is derived from the tobacco plant. Sometimes, it can be used as medicine or an insecticide. It is one of the most heavily used addictive drugs. Tobacco is an example of the nicotine-rich drugs. A study published by The Journal of Neuroscience indicates that nicotine causes changes in peoples’ brains (Guillem et al., 2005). As the researcher pointed out, the excessive nicotine consumption influences the brain memory negatively. It is sad that most young people who have a bright future ahead of them engage in the abuse of drugs. This leads to a long-lasting change in their brains making most of them abandon their studies.
Cocaine is another stimulant that has diverse adverse effects. Cocaine exerts its harmful actions by blocking the conduction of sensory impulses within nerve cells (Riddle, Fleckenstein, & Hanson, 2005). This shows the severe impact of the excessive use of the drug. Many of the cocaine users start by experimenting. This gives way to an increase in the frequency of use. With continued intake of the stimulant, the user will progress to the abuse stage, meaning he/she will become addicted. The reason is that consuming disproportionate substance doses exposes consumers to a feeling of satisfaction which subsequently leads to addiction.
The results of study of The Journal of Neuroscience showed that both nicotine and cocaine were linked to the slowing of the brain mechanism (Guillem et al., 2005). This creates a long-lasting change in a consumer’s brain. The mentioned-above fact explains why many people who use either nicotine or cocaine show signs of absent mindedness in most circumstances. Most addictive drugs cause persistent changes in the memory of a person, thereby, giving rise to the long-term changes in the brain. This explains the cause of the absent minded behavior. The overlapping effects of the two drugs make it plain why both of them are highly addictive substances.
There are the medical effects of both cocaine and nicotine that have the influence on the human brain. It has been documented that one of the acute effects of these stimulants is brain damage (Easton, 2002). Stimulants have caused anxiety among the medical workers regarding their usage and subsequent effects. This is because stimulants interfere with the reasoning capacity of the users that tends to compromise their health. Hence, they are deemed harmful.
Nicotine and cocaine cause psychological problems as well. In most cases, cocaine is considered to be more brain damaging than nicotine. Its users tend to have euphoria, reduced sleep time and increased alert behavior (Riddle, Fleckenstein, & Hanson, 2005). The psychological effects end up having a negative influence on the brain. When one fails to have enough sleep, the brain is usually affected since it lacks adequate rest. High dosage of the stimulants usually results in reckless behaviors. Therefore, it is clearly seen that the psychological effects have an impact on the brain.
Psychologically, the continued use of cocaine increases paranoia which is a feeling in the mind which might not be a reality and is caused by the brain (Easton, 2002). This state causes someone to be suspicious and afraid of other people. Moreover, a sustainable use of cocaine provokes confusion and inability to concentrate. The latter, which is raised by the stimulant intake, is the reason of the disruption in the state of mind. When one is confused, the brain is not working properly, and, in this case, it is due to the effects of the drugs. Hence, whether direct or indirect, the psychological effects of the stimulants on the brain are negative.
For nicotine and cocaine to exert their effects, they must first get into the brain. This explains the diverse effects of such stimulants on the user’s brain. Once a substance enters the bloodstream, it is transported to other vital body organs including the brain. As soon as they penetrate into the brain, harmful substances such as nicotine and cocaine start to produce their effects. Their influence on the brain that is the essential body organ is dangerous. When such substances are transported to the brain, they lead to a set of both physiological and neurological adaptations (Easton, 2002). The adaptations are a reflection of the body's attempts to adjust to the worsened conditions which are reminiscent of the atmosphere created by the substance abuse.
It has been observed that the stimulants also cause social and behavioral changes (Easton, 2002). These alterations occur because the brain suffers from the abuse of the substances. When one excessively uses either cocaine or nicotine, she/he usually becomes moody or has the anxious behavior. This clearly shows the effects of the stimulants on the user’s brain. Most addicts tend to avoid being in social gatherings or even drift apart from their friends. They usually prefer their own company in order to find time for the drugs. This behavior, if continued, leads to a feeling of loneliness which, in its turn, causes depression that affects the brain. Depression sometimes results in death.
Using of cocaine interferes with the re-absorption of dopamine, a brain chemical associated with pleasure and movement. This causes restless behavior, irritability and anxiety in the cocaine users (Henningfield & Zeller, 2006). It also causes the malfunctioning of the brain. When the brain of a person does not function properly, the person experiences problems connected with the reasoning capacity. The same applies to the nicotine. Studies have shown that the abuse of nicotine causes the brain to experience memory problems. This is caused by the changes in the person’s brain resulting from the consumption of a stimulant.
It is usually observed that the above-mentioned stimulants affect the brain of the users by causing them to view issues as normal. Hence, there is a temptation to avoid responsibilities. It has been noted that many young people that use the drugs usually give up their studies and end up not engaging their brains in doing constructive work. The brain is a very useful tool. However, if used in the wrong way, it ends up being redundant. Hence, a brain full of drug substance will not perform.
Drug abuse is dangerous to the brain and body in general. The consequences of the stimulants abuse, in particular nicotine and cocaine, are harmful and can cause addiction. As discussed above, the stimulants can be addictive given that individuals begin to use them continually. This means that if the brain system is affected, the body, in general, will fail to function properly. Nicotine and cocaine, as seen above, are dangerous to the human health. Sometimes, the abuse of the stimulants leads to death. It happens when the person becomes too much of an addict. It is everyone's duty to ensure that they avoid using the stimulants since they might have severe brain damage in the long run.