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Adicciones. 2012;24(4):291-300.

[Subtypes of cocaine addicts with and without associated problematic alcohol use: towards a neuropsychology of personality applied to clinical practice].

[Article in Spanish]

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  • 1Centro de Atención a Drogodependientes, Instituto de Adicciones, Madrid Salud, Ayuntamiento de Madrid, España.


It is important to know which personality factors are associated with addiction so to distinguish addicts that require specialized treatment from those who do not, and to identify those addicts who achieve abstinence from those who continue their substance use despite the negative consequences. Cloninger's model includes biological and psychosocial variables that can be characterized in neuropsychological terms. Two samples were analyzed: individuals who had begun cocaine addiction treatment (n=183) and a non-clinical population sample (n = 183), matched for sex, age and educational level. Alcohol abuse/dependence was monitored as an independent variable. Significant differences and large effect size were found between addicts and non-clinical population in Novelty Seeking and Self-Directedness, and to a lesser extent, in Harm Avoidance. These differences increase when problematic use of alcohol is added. According to the profile of traits, clusters of addicts were established and differences were obtained in variables such as functional/dysfunctional impulsivity, dysexecutive symptoms and perceived stress. Six clusters were identified, some of minor severity, the most severely problematic clusters being characterized by higher levels of dysfunctional impulsivity, more dysexecutive symptoms and higher levels of perceived stress. Self-Directedness seems to reflect the deficit of prefrontal systems in the regulation of behavior, as well as in emotion and impulse control. It is proposed that evaluation of the personality is more useful than the mere assessment of symptoms for classifying addicts, determining their needs and designing a therapeutic itinerary.

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