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Kurt D. Michael

In: 21st Century Psychology: A Reference Handbook

Chapter 85: Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders

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Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders
Psychoactive substance use disorders

Throughout history and across cultures, humans have sought out various psychoactive substances, concoctions, drinks, pills, plants, herbs, and potions to alter, improve, change, and otherwise treat what ails us. The term psychoactive refers to a substance or drug that can alter physiology, cognition, emotion, and behavior. The part of the body most affected by psychoactive substances or drugs is the central nervous system (CNS), which comprises the brain and the spinal cord. Once inside the CNS, the drug can alter biochemical interactions both within and between brain cells or neurons. These interactions, in turn, often have a powerful and rapid impact on thinking, feeling, and behaving. Drug effects are typically classified in terms of how they alter CNS ...

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