Nervous System Drugs

The nervous system is our Internet over which sensory impulses travel the neural pathways to the brain. There they are interpreted and analyzed for an appropriate response. Another impulse is then generated by the brain and transmitted along the same pathway to tell appropriate parts of the body to respond.

Sometimes those responses are voluntary, such as using your hand to swat a bug from your nose. Involuntary responses include your heartbeat. Some responses can be a combination, such as breathing. You can hold your breath and you can make yourself breathe faster but your involuntary nervous system will take over and slow down your breathing or make you take a breath. Medication is available to interrupt impulses that flow along the neural pathway and prevent the body from responding normally to a stimulant. Likewise, there are medications that cause an impulse to stimulate parts of the body. These include drugs that increase the heart rate.

In this chapter, you'll learn about medications that affect the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.

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