Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Environment Contributes To Drug Tolerance

Date:
October 12, 2000
Source:
Texas A&M University
Summary:
Tolerance is a major aspect of drug addiction, and one Texas A&M University psychologist believes the setting in which drugs are taken can be just as big a contributor to developing a tolerance as the drugs themselves.

COLLEGE STATION - Tolerance is a major aspect of drug addiction, and one Texas A&M University psychologist believes the setting in which drugs are taken can be just as big a contributor to developing a tolerance as the drugs themselves.

For more than a decade, Texas A&M psychologist Antonio Cepeda-Benito has studied how learning facilitates the development of tolerance, and he says the environment in which a drug is consumed plays a large role in the drug's effects.

"If the same amount of a drug is administered in one context and later in another different and distinct context, then the effects of the drug are different," Cepeda-Benito says. "The drug has a much greater effect in a novel context rather than in a context that is associated with the administered drug."

Cepeda-Benito, who has studied morphine and nicotine's effects, terms this phenomenon "learned tolerance," and says gradual desensitization to a drug can be developed not only by repeated use of the drug, but also through a learning process that involves recognizing the environment.

In other words, a person consuming a drug in a setting where he or she usually consumes the drug or even expects to consume it will be less likely to feel the full effects of the drug, he says. However, if that same person takes the same amount of the drug in a setting where he or she doesn't normally take the drug, then the person is likely to feel a greater effect from the drug.

He says a familiar context can mean any familiar environment and/or actions, as well as timing. He also notes that the longer the interval between episodes, the greater the chance is of developing a learned tolerance.

Cepeda-Benito says this could possibly explain some drug overdoses in which the person didn't take a greater amount of the drug, but instead, took the drug in an unfamiliar setting, making the term "overdose" a misnomer.

"These are physiological changes mediated by psychological aspects," he says.

Much like a butcher working in a meat freezer who isn't affected by the cold while at work but can feel cold at home, Cepeda-Benito says, the body, over time, begins to prepare itself, through learning, for the environment it is used to consuming the drugs in, resulting in a lessening of the drug's effects.

"This is important because we know that tolerance is a symptom of drug dependence, and when you become tolerant to a drug, then you need to take more of the drug to get the effect you want," Cepeda-Benito says. "The more of the drug you take, the more physiologically dependent you become."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas A&M University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Texas A&M University. "Environment Contributes To Drug Tolerance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 October 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/10/001012074704.htm>.
Texas A&M University. (2000, October 12). Environment Contributes To Drug Tolerance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/10/001012074704.htm
Texas A&M University. "Environment Contributes To Drug Tolerance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/10/001012074704.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3 Things To Know About The Ebola Outbreak's Progression

3 Things To Know About The Ebola Outbreak's Progression

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) Here are three things you need to know about the deadly Ebola outbreak's progression this week. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 28, 2014) The World Health Organisation has called for the regulation of electronic cigarettes as both tobacco and medical products. Ciara Lee looks at the impact of the move on the tobacco industry. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) CDC director Tom Frieden says the Ebola outbreak is even worse than he feared. But he also said there's still hope to contain it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins