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Handbook of Substance Abuse: Neurobehavioral Pharmacology

Handbook of Substance Abuse: Neurobehavioral PharmacologyHandbook of Substance Abuse: Neurobehavioral Pharmacology.
Robert T. Ammerman, Ralph E. Tarter, Peggy J. Ott (eds).
1998. (602 pp).
ISBN 0306458845 (hard).

To help illuminate the causes and natural history of substance abuse disorders, and given increasing interest in drug therapy for the treatment of addiction, this reference volume provides a comprehensive technical review of the pharmacology of each type of drug known to induce abuse or dependence.

Sections correspond to drug classes listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s 1994 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV): alcohol; caffeine; cannabis; cocaine; hallucinogens; inhalants; nicotine; opiates; sedatives, hypnotics, and anxiolytics; and amphetamines. A final section addresses other substances of abuse, including anabolic steroids, ecstasy, and phencyclidine.

In an attempt to integrate neurological, behavioral, and clinical material, each section provides separate chapters on pharmacology, behavioral pharmacology, and psychological and psychiatric consequences. Presentations review human and animal studies (including conflicting or indeterminate data), mechanisms of action, variables related to dose and drug interactions, different effects of closely related specific drugs, and voluminous additional information to provide a panoramic neurobehavioral view. The book has many contributors, numerous tables, extensive references, and a detailed index.

An introduction notes that no common feature has been found for all drugs that lead to abuse or dependence. Drugs’ capacity to produce intoxication, tolerance, and physical dependence and the severity of withdrawal symptoms vary widely. Abusable drugs may provide positive reinforcement, such as enhancing energy, arousal, or euphoria; or negative reinforcement, relieving fatigue, stress, or depression. This ability to alter emotions, cognition, or behavior is not unique to abusable drugs.

Although definitions vary, like DSM-IV this book distinguishes drug abuse from dependence. Abuse criteria include consumption in difficult or dangerous circumstances and interference with normal activities. Dependence may involve tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, loss of control, relinquishing of personal and social roles, and extensive efforts to maintain use.

The editors acknowledge that understanding substance abuse disorders requires examining the contributions of genetic, developmental, neurobiological, behavioral, and social policy factors, as well as the pharmacological properties of drugs. There has been little research on individual and gender differences in drug response and vulnerability to abuse disorders and dependence.

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