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Tolerance and dependency
When there is a chronic absorption of a certain substance, the organism creates weaker or stronger stability towards its effects.
In 63 BC Mitradat IV, the king of Pont, lost a long war against Rome and after he was even betrayed by his own son, Mitradat tried to kill himself by swallowing poison. But the acquired stability of the king towards the all known in that time poisons, played him a bad trick – the poison did not work and the king had to ask one of his soldiers to cut his throat. The tolerance was once called “mitradation” after the name of King Mitradat IV.
The tolerance can be formally defined as a reduced effectiveness of a certain mean, and this effectiveness can be caused by its prolonged presence in the organism or by the necessity for enlargement of the dose, in order to get the same effect, when absorbed for a long time. Opiates cause nausea, euphoria, midriaza; towards the first effect, the tolerance is developed very quickly, towards euphoria – slower, and towards midriaza it is not developed at all, that’s why whenever the worshippers of opium have taken drugs, their pupils shrink.
The build-up of tolerance, especially towards doses, which in a great extent exceed the initial ones, leads to a radical reconstruction of the affected systems of the organism. If the absorption of a substance is stopped, all mechanisms, created to compensate the presence of this substance begin to work improper. The result is the arising of some painful symptoms; because of the fact that they are a result of the “abstinentia” (restraint) from the use of this substance, this complex of symptoms is called “abstinent syndrome”. In such cases it is said, that the organism is in strong dependence on this substance; it is obvious that the development of tolerance and the state of dependence are closely related.
Dependency is usually formed on a group of substances with similar effects, among which there is a “crossed tolerance”; in such cases this is called “crossed dependency” on opiates, on alcohol/barbiturates/benzodiazepines and so on. If the unpleasant symptoms affect only the mental sphere, we talk about psychic dependence and if they interfere with other functions of the organism, we call it physical dependence – alcohol, sedative means and opiates. Many people are of opinion that the physical dependency, especially on opiates, is much more dangerous and it is very difficult to be cured than the other drug habits and toxic-manias, but the induced by alcohol abstinent syndrome is more dangerous than the opiates’ one. Strong psychic dependency is created towards cocaine, amphetamines and nicotine; how serious this dependence can be people can conclude from the rapid partiality to smoking the popular in the last few years “crack”, and of course, the most ordinary cigarettes. The substances, on which no dependency is created, for example cannabis and hallucinogens, are closer to chips than to heroine. According to some drastic opinions, however, these means are not less dangerous, because their absorption results in the forming of a habit.
From the point of view of the way the dependent subject absorbs his own narcotic, there are two types of dependent behavior. The first type is typical for the opiates’ dependency. In this case in a certain period of time, the subject takes the dose, which gradually increases as time passes and the tolerance is created; here of course, we mean a case, in which there is no problem in finding the drug itself. The second type of behavior is typical for the grave cases of alcoholism or cocaine and amphetamines’ abuse; in this second type the periods of drug-taking (drinking alcohol or sniffing cocaine doses) alternate with periods of “abstinentia”, during which the organism succeeds much or less to recover for the poisoning. The use of substances, on which no dependency is created or it is still unknown someone to have create one, is not subordinate to any given scheme and it does not depend on private preferences and/or on social factors.