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Annals of General Psychiatry

, 9:15

First Online: 13 April 2010Received: 07 November 2009Accepted: 13 April 2010


BackgroundAddiction is a relapsing chronic condition in which psychiatric phenomena play a crucial role. Psychopathological symptoms in patients with heroin addiction are generally considered to be part of the drug addict-s personality, or else to be related to the presence of psychiatric comorbidity, raising doubts about whether patients with long-term abuse of opioids actually possess specific psychopathological dimensions.

MethodsUsing the Self-Report Symptom Inventory SCL-90, we studied the psychopathological dimensions of 1,055 patients with heroin addiction 884 males and 171 females aged between 16 and 59 years at the beginning of treatment, and their relationship to age, sex and duration of dependence.

ResultsA total of 150 14.2% patients with heroin addiction showed depressive symptomatology characterised by feelings of worthlessness and being trapped or caught; 257 24.4% had somatisation symptoms, 205 19.4% interpersonal sensitivity and psychotic symptoms, 235 22.3% panic symptomatology, 208 19.7% violence and self-aggression. These dimensions were not correlated with sex or duration of dependence. Younger patients with heroin addiction were characterised by higher scores for violence-suicide, sensitivity and panic anxiety symptomatology. Older patients with heroin addiction showed higher scores for somatisation and worthlessness-being trapped symptomatology.

ConclusionsThis study supports the hypothesis that mood, anxiety and impulse-control dysregulation are the core of the clinical phenomenology of addiction and should be incorporated into its nosology.

Icro Maremmani, Pier Paolo Pani, Matteo Pacini, Jacopo V Bizzarri, Emanuela Trogu, Angelo GI Maremmani, Gilberto Gerra, Giulio Perugi and Liliana Dell-Osso contributed equally to this work.

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Autor: Icro Maremmani - Pier Paolo Pani - Matteo Pacini - Jacopo V Bizzarri - Emanuela Trogu - Angelo GI Maremmani - Gilberto G


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