Previous studies have shown that lab rats developed tolerance to the drug effects of morphine with the presence of the environmental stimuli because of Pavlovian conditioning. The environmental stimuli contributed as a conditioned stimulus to the conditioned response, and the morphine drug stimulation was the unconditional stimuli. Also, theoretically as the relationship between the environmental stimuli and the unconditional response stimuli grows stronger, the weaker the drug effect will be. Crowell (1981) describes how environmental stimuli are conditioned in the experiments to the conditional drug response, the hypothermic effects of ethanol.
In the first experiment, there were 19 lab rats divided into two groups, and one group was injected with 20 doses of ethanol in a distinctive room and 20 saline solutions in the rats’ colony. The other group was injected with 20 doses of ethanol and 20 saline solutions in the reversed environment. Researchers hypothesized that tolerance to the ethanol and the compensatory conditional response to the saline injections would be shown only in the environments indicated ethanol injection after the ethanol injections, and they would not be shown in the environment indicating saline injection. Nineteen rats received ethanol and saline injection alternatively every other day, and the ethanol injections were consisted of 2 injections at 1.3g/kg, 5 at 1.7g/kg, and 13 at 2.1 g/kg. Also, in both environmental conditions, the room temperature was maintained at 21 Celsius degrees. The tolerance test sessions were performed in both groups after the tolerance development sessions in both environment conditions alternatively. The drug effect of ethanol was recorded by measu...
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...s supported that the conditional responses weakened by presenting the conditional stimuli without the unconditional stimuli.
This article is very interesting that by studying the rats in the lab, we can see how the drug users, environmental factors, and drug intertwined together. Tolerance develops when drug is repeatedly consumed. Not only the neuro changes are the reason why drug users develop tolerance, but also the environmental factors play a role in tolerance development. The second experiment demonstrated how the conditional responses can be weakened by presenting the conditional stimuli without the unconditional stimuli. This might be promising for the drug users who are trying to quit the drug; however, drug users can easily overdose on the same amount of drug they used to use because they are not aware of the weakened conditional responses in their body.
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