Measuring Effects of Drugs on Mood

Subjective effects are feelings, perceptions, and moods that are the personal experiences of an individual. They are not accessible to other observers for public validation and, thus, can only be obtained through reports from the individual. Subjec tive-effect measures are used to determine whether the drug is perceived and to determine the quantitative and qualitative characterization of what is experienced. Although subjective effects can be collected in the form of narrative descriptions, standardized questionnaires have greater experimental utility. For example, they may be used to collect the reports of individuals in a fashion that is meaningful to outside observers, can be combined across subjects, and can provide data that are reliable and replicable. The measurement of subjective effects through the use of questionnaires is scientifically useful for determining the pharmacologic properties of drugs—including time course, potency, abuse liability, side effects, and therapeutic utility. Many of the current methods used to measure subjective effects resulted from research aimed at reducing drug abuse.

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