Theory and news about general psychology, psychopharmacology, DSM-5, and the high sensation seeking personality.

Sensation Seeking and and Oxycodone

by Na’eem Gibson

            High sensation seekers tend to seek a wide array of sensations to satisfy their urges and impulses.  Ranging from relatively low risk activities such as skydiving or recreational drug use, to dangerous activities like reckless driving and drug abuse, high sensation seekers tend to find themselves apart of experiences involving such as those previously mentioned.  In a study conducted by James P. Zacny, he came to find that like many other drugs, oxycodone had varying effects on male and female high sensation seekers and low sensation seekers.  As expected the high sensation seekers generally responded with overwhelmingly positive reactions to the opiate while the low sensation seekers responded with a mix of euphoric and dysphoric effects.

            While it is expected for a high sensation seeker to find the novel effects of oxycodone pleasurable and it is expected for low sensation seekers to find the effects disturbing, the addition of both female and male sensation seekers varied the results quite a bit.  In the study Zacny found that male high sensation seekers did not report the dysphoric effects that the male and female low sensation seekers reported such as nausea or general confusion.  Zacny’s experiment was not the first of its kind as many others have compared potential differences in drug abuse between low sensation and high sensation seeks, but it is the first to do the comparison study between the two types of sensation seekers concerning their reactions to opioids.

Einstein was a Big T+

            High-Sensation seekers, those characterized as creative, disinhibited, and witty boundary-pushers are everywhere.  Your mother, father, best friend, or even your grandmother could be a high sensation-seeker and you wouldn’t even know it.  Perhaps you’d gather that they were a bit more exciting than the average person, but never considered any of them to be high sensation-seekers.  In Christopher Munsey’s APA (American Psychological Association) article titled “Frisky, but more risky”, Munsey discusses Temple University psychologist Dr. Frank Farley’s studies in high sensation-seekers.  Dr. Farley points out that high sensation-seekers are real, prevalent, and could even be considered their own personality type. 

            Dr. Farley describes the high sensation-seeking personality trait as “the Big T personality” with the “T” standing for “thrill seeking”.  The Big T personality can be either a positive Big T personality or a negative Big T personality.  Big T negative personalities may be involved in crimes or violence simply for thrill, which starkly contrast Big T positive personalities, which are those who find thrills in physical or mental activities, examples being Mt. Everest mountain climber and Albert Einstein respectively.  The mountain climber finds thrill in the reaching the top of mountain despite the sheer possibility of plummeting to his demise, and Albert Einstein found his research and discoveries to be thrilling