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August 1958

The Sedation Threshold: Its Concept and Use for Comparative Studies on Drug-Induced Phenomena

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1958;80(2):232-236. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1958.02340080102022

The concept of the sedation threshold, recently introduced into the medical literature, has received considerable attention as a tool of value in psychiatric and psychosomatic research. It acquired its significance from the findings that it correlated with two important and fundamental determinants in the psychological and psychoanalytic theory: the degree of anxiety and the degree of impairment of ego functions. It also acquired another value as a relatively constant level for the individual and a relatively enduring biological characteristic of him, as indicated by a high testretest reliability in studies of the sedation thresholds for amobarbital (Amytal) sodium.10

A study has been undertaken to investigate the relationship between various manifestations that have been designated "anxiety" and the amount of central nervous system depressants—namely, amobarbital sodium and ethyl alcohol—required to produce the levels of the sedation thresholds. The assumption was that the psychological state of the organism determines, to a

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