Tolerance has several important meanings. Three of them are directly relevant to the period of adolescence. One approach to tolerance refers to an increase in resistance to a drug’s effects. That resistance translates into the need for an increase in dosage to maintain the drug’s desired effect. In this sense, tolerance is like habituation, which is a form of learning in which individuals stop responding to a stimulus after a period of exposure. Another view deals with a willingness or disposition to permit choice or behavior. That meaning has to do with a sense of freedom for oneself or others, such as tolerance toward other views or perspectives regarding moral or social issues. A third meaning of tolerance relates to individual’s ability to deal with reality that is different from what they wish. This last form relates most directly to frustration tolerance, which relates to psychological distress and problem behavior. All of these are forms of tolerance that are important to the...
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