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Drugs and Consciousness Project: Mickey Mouse

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Tara Burress

on 31 October 2014

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Transcript of Drugs and Consciousness Project: Mickey Mouse

Mickey Relapses Again!
Psychoactive Drug
The United States represents 5% of the world's population and 75% of prescription drugs taken. 60% of teens who abuse prescription drugs get them free from friends and relatives.
Mickey loves using barbiturates because the high gives him feelings of relaxation and euphoria. Other effects of barbiturate intoxication include drowsiness, decreased anxiety, and a loss of inhibitions. However, the more he often he uses them, the more physically and psychological dependent he becomes.
Barbiturates dissolve easily in fat, giving them ready access to the brain because they can cross the blood brain barrier easily. Although the exact mechanisms by which barbiturates affect the brain are not understood, it is thought that these drugs bind to sodium channels on neurons and prevent the flow of sodium ions. Barbiturates may also increase the flow of chloride ions across the neuronal membrane, allowing Barbiturates to be both an agonist and an antagonist.
Like alcohol, these magical little pills help Mickey disconnect and forget the anxiety and depression he has been struggling with.
Mickey was hooked on meth after the first hit, pushing him to chase a high as satisfying as the first. He loves this drug because it gives him the sense of happiness and well-being, along with a rush of confidence, hyperactivity and energy that lasts up 24 hours!
Methamphetamine increases the amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine, leading to high levels of that chemical in the brain. Dopamine is involved in reward, motivation, the experience of pleasure, and motor function. Methamphetamine’s ability to release dopamine rapidly in reward regions of the brain produces the euphoric “rush” or “flash” that many users experience.
At first, meth makes Mickey feel as if he has super powers, however, he quickly begins hallucinating, and develops erratic, violent behavior. The more meth he takes, the harder it is for him to reach the high he desires. This pushes him into a dangerous cycle that has the potential to destroy his body.
By: Tara Burress
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Psychoactive Drug
After Mickey consumes a large amount of alcohol, he begins forgetting the pain that Minnie has recently inflicted on his life. He becomes relaxed, his heart rate slows, and he is able to disconnect from what is going on around him for a while.
Alcohol is an agonist for GABA, serotonin, dopamine, and the endorphins–it increases their activity. Alcohol is an antagonist for glutamate—it reduces glutamate activity. The increase in GABA, serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins allows the consumer to feel happy, calm, and relaxed, while the reduced glutamate inhibits memory and learning capabilities in intoxicated individuals.
Mickey finally gets the chance to be happy and care free again when drinking, because he is able to drown out his sadness with booze.
When this little mouse is feeling drowsy, he is sure to run up to his local coffee shop to get the biggest cup of Joe he can find. Not only does he rely on it to wake up in the morning, if he doesn't drink his daily cup, the caffeine withdrawal gives him a painful, pounding headache that cannot be relieved without giving into his addiction.
Caffeine acts as an adenosine-receptor antagonist. Caffeine's effect on the brain causes increased neuron firing. The pituitary gland senses this activity and thinks some sort of emergency must be occurring, so it releases hormones that tell the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline (epinephrine). This increases heart rate, tightens muscles, and causes blood pressure to rises, seemingly giving you a boost of energy.
This gives Mickey the chance to survive the work day after another long sleepless night without the love of his life.
The Addiction Times
Although LSD can make a person feel happy and care free, it also has negative side effects such as paranoia, panic attacks, and terrifying thoughts and feelings.
The exact neural pathways that are affected by LSD are not completely known. LSD has a chemical structure that is very similar to the neurotransmitter called serotonin. It is thought that the effects of LSD are caused by stimulation of serotonin receptors on neurons, perhaps in the brain area called the raphe nuclei. However, it is still not clear what produces all the effects of LSD.
Not only is Mickey's mental state severely worsened by this drug, he is also tormented by terrifying thoughts and flashbacks of all he has been through in his short life as a mouse. His has hallucinations of rat poisoning and mouse traps surrounding him everywhere he goes.
Fun Facts
By the 8th grade, 28% of adolescents have consumed alcohol, 15% have smoked cigarettes, and 16.5% have used marijuana.

About 50% of high school seniors do not think it's harmful to try crack or cocaine once or twice and 40% believe it's not harmful to use heroin once or twice.

The most commonly used—and abused—drug in the US is alcohol. Alcohol-related motor accidents are the second leading cause of teen death in the United States.

The average age of first experimentation with drugs is 13, and for alcohol it is even younger. Drug use has been classified as a major problem for kids as early as fourth grade by the students themselves.

Marijuana is a much better drug for what Mickey enjoys from a high. It makes him feel relaxed, care free, and euphoric, without many of the potentially deadly risks that other drugs have.
This drug acts as an antagonist for cannabinoid receptors, which are usually activated by a neurotransmitter called anandamide. THC mimics the actions of anandamide, meaning that THC binds with cannabinoid receptors and activates neurons, which causes adverse effects on the mind and body. When the THC binds with the cannabinoid receptors inside the hippocampus, it interferes with the recollection of recent events. Motor coordination and muscle movements are impaired when under the influence of marijuana because THC affects both the cerebellum and the basal ganglia.
Mickey turns to marijuana when he needs a quick and easy escape. He becomes addicted to the high provided to him, but it is not nearly as severe as harder drugs such as LSD, cocaine, and meth. Needless to say, he enjoys smoking weed when he, Donald, and Goofy get together.
After Mickey first began experimenting with cocaine, he felt euphoric, confident, and more social than ever before, however, with the more he used, his sadness, depression, and frustration became the dominate emotions while he was high.
When cocaine enters the brain’s reward pathway, it blocks the reuptake pumps which act to remove dopamine from the synapse. Because it is an agonist for dopamine receptors, more dopamine accumulates in the synapse, resulting in feelings of intense pleasure. Prolonged cocaine use causes the brain to adapt, causing it to become dependent on the presence of cocaine to function normally, “downregulating” the amount of dopamine present naturally.
This dangerous downwards spiral makes Mickey experience drastic mood swings, which sadly make Minnie even happier that she left him. Who wants to be with an addict anyway?
Brain cells are called neurons. They communicate with one another through the exchange of small molecules called neurotransmitters, which are like “keys” that fit into “locks,” called receptors, on the surface of brain cells. When a neurotransmitter locks onto a receptor, it transmits a message, either stimulating or depressing the neuron’s activity, depending on the neurotransmitter.
The Reward System is the neural network involved in feeling pleasure. It’s also centrally involved in learning and motivation. The primary neurotransmitter in the Reward System is dopamine. If enough dopamine is released into the brain’s reward circuits euphoria results. Dopamine-based exhilaration is a common experience, at least partially responsible just about any time one experiences pleasure. Something as simple as a hug or kiss can trigger a dopamine spike and pleasure.
Drugs create a high by increasing dopamine in the Reward System much more than natural rewards do, up to 10 times more. If drugs are used only occasionally, the brain’s corrective systems regain proper balance once the drugs wear off. But if drugs are used excessively, the brain boosts its defensive reaction, also known as tolerance. Tolerance makes the Reward System less efficient, muting the overstimulation caused by drugs. Once tolerance develops, it takes more drugs to achieve the same high that used to be achieved with less. If excessive drug use occurs over a long period of time, the brain develops accelerating tolerance. This can result in the permanent physical changes seen in the Reward System neurons of addicts. These changes alter not only the structure of those neurons, but also their function, literally changing how addicts think, resulting in behaviors like denial, irrationality and obsessive drug use.
How the Brain's Reward Center Works

Mickey Mouse has recently lost Minnie Mouse, the love of his life, to another guy. He is heartbroken and doesn't know what to do. As a result, he has turned to substance abuse to ease the pain. Over the past couple months, he has become addicted to a plethora of drugs, quickly realizing how physically and psychologically dependent he is on these many different highs. After regularly snorting cocaine, he built up a tolerance for it, causing him to need more and more of the addictive white powder to satisfy his craving. However, he has realized he should probably cut back on the drugs, but the painful effects of withdrawal make quitting virtually impossible for him.
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