Areas of the Brain Effected
††††††††††† As a general concept, drugs affect certain areas of the brain more so than others. ††Specifically, opiates can affect four areas of the brain that cause people to act out of their norm: the brainstem, the cerebellum, the midbrain, and the cortex.† Morphine, a type of opiate, affects each of these four brain structures differently.† Since each structure is involved in carrying out different behaviors, the affects of the opiate in these structures causes abnormal behaviors specific to that structure (Gahlinger, 2004).†
††††††††††† † The primary function of the brainstem is to keep bodily functions, such as sleep and breathing, regulating normally.† If such habits are disrupted, it can have devastating affects of the functioning of the entire body.† Specifically, when morphine disrupts bodily functions, it can lead to coma.† Even worse, it can lead to a more severe case.† Since the brainstem specifically regulates breathing, an overdose of morphine could cease breathing and death would be the result.
††††††††††† Another brain structure that is affected by morphine is the cerebellum.† When the cerebellum is affected by a morphine administration, stumbling and random motion of eyes can occur.† This happens because the cerebellum controls such things as balance, vision, and muscle activity coordination (Gahlinger, 2004).
††††††††††† Morphine has crucial affects on the midbrain.† Instinct, sex drive, food drive, and emotions are the survival functions that the cerebellum controls.† The midbrain includes such structures as the limbic system, the thalamus, the hypothalamus, the hippocampus, and the nucleus accumbens.† Each of these brain structures inside the midbrain control behaviors that include emotions, pain and temperature regulation, hormones, memory, and reward, respectively.† The cerebellum controls many aspects of behavior.† This is the part of the brain that gets addicted to drugs, specifically morphine.† A sense of reward and pleasure that the cerebellum gives when there is a high on morphine causes the craving and instinct to administer more morphine into the body.† Reward, pleasure, and instinct are all behaviors that are controlled by the cerebellum and therefore that is primarily where drug addiction comes from (Gahlinger, 2004).† Also, it is thought that in some of these structures there are higher areas of concentration of opioid receptors than in other areas (also includes areas out of this category).† Areas of this increased concentration include regions such as they hypothalamic, sensory, and limbic (Leonard, 1992).
††††††††††† Judgment, reasoning, planning, and language are all controlled by the cortex.† When the body is on a morphine high, the brainís ability to make judgments, understand reasoning and planning, and affects of language are clouded (Gahlinger, 2004).††