Essay Pharmacology is the branch of medicine and biology that seeks to understand drugs and how they affect the body. It involves the analysis of how drugs interact with the biological function of the body and how these drugs react with each other, their natures, and their properties. All drugs are considered chemicals and when ingested into the body an affect from the drug takes place. According to Doweiko (1999), “A drug is essentially a foreign chemical that is introduced into the individual’s body to bring about a specific desired response.
There are many forms of drugs and how these drugs are administered in the body determines the kind of result that will take place. The Central Nervous System, (CNS) plays a major role in how these drugs will affect the body because the chemicals carry out their main effect when latched on to the receptor sites. The way in which the drug is administered or absorbed will determine how quickly or slowly the drug will begin to work and this process varies depending on the drug (Doweiko, 2009).
Drugs that hit the lungs quickly will begin to work faster but will also tapper off relatively fast. Drugs that are taken orally such as tablets, pills, and liquid medications will take longer to affect the body and drugs that enter the blood stream will work much faster than those taken orally. Drugs taken orally on an empty stomach also take affect faster (Doweiko, 2009). Most drugs Distribution then occurs which involves how the chemical moves once it enters the body.
This involves both accumulation and drug transport within the body and distribution is affected based on the individual’s age, sex, muscle/adipose tissue ratio, state of hydration, genetic heritage, and health (Doweiko, 2009). Once the drug molecules are distributed they reach circulation and can be carried to the site of action. However, the drug molecule acts as a foreign substance to the body so the way the molecule transports varies depending on how the body responds to the drug molecule (Doweiko, 2009).
The variations include: some are able to mix freely with the blood plasma, others are considered water-soluble, and some are able to bind to one of the fat molecules that circulate throughout the body. Biotransformation involves the way in which the organism copes with potentially dangerous compounds found. They detoxification systems will try to eliminate poisonous food substances as well as drug molecules because they act as toxic agents to the body (Doweiko, 2009). Biotransformation is generally carried out in the liver although some tissues might also be involved in this process as well (Doweiko, 2009).
The way the human digestive tract works is that it is designed not to allow any chemical to that has been absorbed to pass into circulation until it is first filtered through the liver (Doweiko, 2009). The liver acts as a kind of water purifier when it comes to the body. The bad substances are filtered out so that the body can keep most of the good substances. In order to decipher how effective a drug will be, the duration of the drug effect, and how long the drug will remain in the body is usually determined by what is called a drug half-life.
This is especially important when dealing with and understanding overdoses. As counselors, it isn’t necessarily our responsibility to fully understand the biology behind drugs and alcohol’s affects on the human body. However, it is valuable and important for counselors to have a basic understanding and be fairly knowledgeable in how drugs and alcohol affect the body so that they can understand signs and symptoms. Reference Doweiko, H. E. (2009). Concepts of chemical dependency (7th ed. ). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.