When considering the dynamics of brain and behavior, another component that enters the equation is environment. If brain equals behavior then changes to either should result in an altercation to the other component. The question that arises is whether a change in the environment produces change in brain chemistry and therefore, behavior. A connection between brain, behavior and environment may be observed in the context of drug tolerance. There are a collection of questions that seem essential to consider when attempting to correlate the brain's development of an observable drug tolerance and the environment.
• Does the environment affect drug tolerance? How?
• What observations correlate environmental cues and a tolerance to drugs?
• How can an understanding of the correlation between environment and tolerance be applied to medical care and treatments?
Tolerance is caused by the brain's ability to adapt to or compensate for the presence of a chemical (1). Tolerance developed after a repeated exposure to a drug is due to two possible biological processes. One process involves a decrease in the concentration of the drug at the effector site due to changes in the absorption, distribution, metabolism or excretion of the drug. The other process involves changes in the sensitivity towards a drug due to adaptive changes that diminish the initial effects of a drug. The nervous system is able to adapt and thereby reduce the initial effects of a drug by using two methods. The first method involves a change in the number or properties of drug-sensitive receptors. The second method provides a coordinated compensatory response to counteract or oppose the effects ...
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3) Biography of Ivan Pavlov
4) Siegel, S., Hinson, R.E., Krank, M.D. and McCully, J. Heroin "overdose" death: contribution of drug-associated environmental cues. Science 216, 436-437 (1982)
5)University of Plymouth, Department of Psycology page clear outline of experiment
6) Nature Neuroscience
7) Siegel, S. Pavlovian conditioning and heroin overdose: reposts by overdose victims. Bull. Psychonomic Soc. 22, 428-430
8)A Practical Application of Environmentally-Induced Tolerance Theory
9) American Psychological Association
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