Steve Howard Posted on 4:01 am

Mode of action of stimulants

Stimulants are substances that act by activating functions controlled by certain neurotransmitters, which as such act on the central nervous system as if it were peripheral organs.

Modes of Action Stimulants include several mechanisms that often overlap:

    • reuptake blockade of norepinephrine, dopamine and / or serotonin
    • increased release of these monoamines
    • inhibition of enzymes responsible for the metabolism of the neurotransmitters in question
    • presynaptic stimulation of neurons responsible for the release of catecholamines
    • stimulation of catecholamine receptors

Combination of the above effects

Sympathomimetic substances are defined as direct acting or receptor agonists if they directly activate the catecholamine neurotransmitter receptor, indirectly if they act instead to promote the release of neurotransmitter the same, if they represent both modes of action, they are defined as mixed.

Amphetamines, cocaine, and many other substances of abuse fall into this category.

Side Effects

There are many risks associated with taking stimulants, the possible side effects are both mental and physical.

There are effects that occur during the period when the body is exposed. action of the substance and others that occur in posthumous times, when the substance in question no longer performs its action. The greatest risks arise during the action of the substance, as overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system can have serious consequences:

  • mood changes can lead to anxiety, insomnia, agitation, paranoia
  • cardiac effects can be serious and can lead to heart failure, arrhythmias, palpitations, tachycardia, hypertension, and heart attacks
  • physical stimulation can lead to problems with thermoregulation due to overheating caused by increased physical activity, which can lead to dehydration and electrolyte deficiency with very serious consequences such as cardiac arrest or cerebral edema
  • There are many cases of sudden death due to cardiovascular complications, problems with thermoregulation and other causes.

Further adverse events can occur when the effect of the substance disappears, in fact, the body, brought to excessive activity, may be in a state of Severe fatigue, which may take several days to recover, this is due to the stimulants, fatigue is not felt. In practice, a misperception of the state of fatigue arises, which can jeopardize physical abilities in the following stages. This condition occurs more easily if the person taking stimulants prepares to do strenuous physical work, such as competitive sports.

Athletes who use these substances, before an important physical effort, such as a competition, may experience more or less serious musculoskeletal injuries resulting from wear and tear on the body. Inflammatory conditions, lacerations and tensions of tendons and muscles, increased muscle catabolism and microtrauma are injuries caused by physical exertion under the influence of stimulants; these conditions may be more or less affected depending on how long the athlete continues to perform after the first physical signs of pain appear. Signals commonly neglected due to stimulants and the specific competitive state the athlete is in.

Posthumous physical effects can also be associated with psychological effects such as depression and excessive fatigue, which can persist for several days.

Finally, be aware that some of these substances, especially cocaine, can be addictive and abstinence. However, these effects only occur after continuous use and not due to accidental concomitant use at a sporting event.

Stimulants are often deliberately mistaken for their euphoric and reinforcing effects on the character as an addict. In particular, cocaine, methamphetamines and derivatives are used as often as possible.

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