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Research Article
Published Online: November 1985

The self-medication hypothesis of addictive disorders: focus on heroin and cocaine dependence

Publication: American Journal of Psychiatry


Recent clinical observations and psychiatric diagnostic findings of drug-dependent individuals suggest that they are predisposed to addiction because they suffer with painful affect states and related psychiatric disorders. The drugs that addicts select are not chosen randomly. Their drug of choice is the result of an interaction between the psychopharmacologic action of the drug and the dominant painful feelings with which they struggle. Narcotic addicts prefer opiates because of their powerful muting action on the disorganizing and threatening affects of rage and aggression. Cocaine has its appeal because of its ability to relieve distress associated with depression, hypomania, and hyperactivity.

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Go to American Journal of Psychiatry
Go to American Journal of Psychiatry
American Journal of Psychiatry
Pages: 1259 - 1264
PubMed: 3904487


Published in print: November 1985
Published online: 1 April 2006


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