Re: Drugs and Despair

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Mon May 22 2000 - 15:32:14 MDT

"Steve" <> writes:

> >There are a few systems in the brain that send out signals using
> >monoamine neuromodulators, that is neurochemicals containing a single
> >amine group: serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and
> >acetylcholine. These modulators affect how other neurons work, they
> >essentially set the mode of thinking. Dopamine is involved among other
> >things in reward/learning, norepinephrine
> >wakefullness/alertness/startle, acetylcholine (my favorite)
> >memory/attention and so on. Very important stuff, the baseline leves
> >we have probably determine at least some of our personality and
> >general mood.
> And our general mood affects the baseline levels of these neurochemicals....

In some sense they are a part of the phenomenon we call mood. Emotions
have both a cognitive part, a limbic modulatory part and the more
hormonal visceral aspects. They all interact with each other - by
changing our cognition, neurochemical levels and general body state we
can change our mood.

> >Drugs that affect them (such as antidepressants,
> >stimulants etc) have profound effects on mood and the way we think. So
> >I was thinking that it would be a good thing to keep them more
> >optimized and under tighter control.
> Antidepressants might have their place, but the environment and our
> (emotional) reaction to events in it, can be worked on without chemicals
> ...... which might be better to avoid *addiction* and dependence on coffee,
> Prozac, alchohol, dope or any mood-altering substance. Light and colour has
> an effect, music &c.

You can get addicted to that too - people just don't recognise it as
addictions. The main risk is instant gratification, that leads to a
strong association between whatever produced the good mood and the
good mood, creating a desire for it.

> I think you are right about optimisation, but what do you mean by "tighter
> control " of the drugs ... do you means personal control or legal controls
> of use?

Personal control of course. Legal controls are at best an adjunct.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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