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Anxiety and Differentiation: Factors in the Variation in Response to Psychoactive Medication
 
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Code: DJ 5.1 (3) Jones
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James E. Jones, PhD

The extensive prescribing of psychoactive medications has become a dominant force in the mental health field in the last generation. Both professionals and the general public use a simplified version of biological thinking in assuming that an accurately prescribed medication will correct a presumably biologically caused emotional symptom. Studies of human beings and animals show that there is substantial variation in how individuals and their relationship systems respond to psychoactive medication.

Furthermore, social-emotional characteristics of the individual appear to be associated with appreciable degrees of that variation in response. Rank in one’s social hierarchy, degree of connection with one’s social group, the degree of one’s current and past anxiety, and early rearing conditions are four factors shown to influence response to a medication. From Bowen theory, one can extrapolate the hypothesis that a variation in the level of differentiation and intensity of chronic anxiety in an individual and his or her relationship system influences variation in functioning, which may include variation in response to a psychoactive medication.


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