Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Abnormal Psychology - Definitions

The assignment: Choose and define words that are relevant to class discussions

Eliyahu N. Kassorla
Abnormal Psychology
Dr. A. Daniels
TERM: Anhedonia
DEFINITION: Anhedonia, as described by you in class, is the inability to take or feel pleasure and express joy or happiness.
USAGE: “Boy, that Weyoun. He has command of the station Deep Space Nine, and still he cannot be happy. Has anyone ever called him anhedonic?
DISCUSSION: Anhedonia, as a state, is expressive of depression, and the DSM considers it as a symptom of the mood disorder depression. You also stated that anhedonia is relatively common in chronic and long-term marijuana use. There are several clinical approaches to easing anhedonia. There is the obvious psychopharmeceutical approach, which has a very high clinical efficacy for relieving depressive symptoms. However, anti-depressants with counseling or psychotherapy, has the highest efficacy in treatment of depressive symptoms (Daniels 2009). Another approach is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT aims to influence the thought and outcome portion of the thought-feeling-behavior cycle (Goldstein 2005). By changing the thought from a negative to a positive, the hope is to change the emotions from negative to positive. Even with changing the client’s behaviors to engage in non-depressed activities, like playing with friends, the thoughts and emotions often follows and relieves symptomology. With anhedonia, having the client think that he will have fun, thinking that she will have joy, may be helpful in relieving the feeling of anhedonia.
TERM: Dose-Response Curve
DEFINITION: A dose- response curve is a graphical representation of a dose of a drug, the effect of a drug, and the interval which it acts (Pinel 2005).
USAGE: “When Billy-Bob tried to defend his Vicodin use, I tried showing him a dose-response curve. He didn’t understand why he felt a crash taking so much, and why he needed more to feel high.”
DISCUSSION: A dose-response curve is, as Pinel explains, a graphical representation of how a given dose acts over time. With habitual use of a substance, one of two processes acts: sensitization and desensitization. In sensitization, a lower dose than the first exposure is required to elicit the same response (Pinel 2005). Bee venom is an excellent example, where the first sting provides a mild reaction, but repeat exposures produce increasingly dangerous effects. Desensitization is the opposite effect, where a higher amount of a substance is required to elicit the same effects (Pinel 2005). Cocaine, as an example, in its initial dose will get someone feeling high: their brain activity lights up from neuron firing and their neurons are flooded with key neurotransmitters. Taking a consistent dose, the dose-response curve will become flatter. It is only by increasing the dose past the initial dose does the drug provide any more effects, breaking through the plateau. Too much of a substance, and the drug user may be faced with death. Very high doses in people not adapted to using a substance, or experienced users in novel environments, can cause death (Pinel 2005). In a clinical setting, this presents challenges to a chemically dependent, substance abusing client. During the mental status exam, and anytime where new information is revealed, an accurate history must be established with respect to substance use. This gives the clinician an idea where on the curve a client fits. When a client is advised to discontinue a substance the dose the client take to feel effects will enable the clinician to recommend titration, or weaning off the drug. The client will surely feel that he needs his high, but the clinician, and other medical professionals, can establish a plan that eliminates substance use and abuse, freeing the client of their physical and psychological chemical addiction.

Daniels, Aaron. Abnormal psychology. Fall 2009: New England College. Henniker, NH
Goldstein, E. Bruce. (2005). Cognitive psychology: Connecting mind, research, and everyday experience. Wadsworth Publishing: Florence, KY.
Pinel, John P. J. (2005). Biopsychology, 6th ed. Pearson Allyn and Bacon: Upper Saddle River, NJ.

/This one deals with prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize faces

(Click to open - the original Word file was lost in a catastrophic hard drive failure)

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