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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2007 Jul 10;89(2-3):298-301. Epub 2007 Feb 5.

Difficulties in emotion regulation and impulse control during cocaine abstinence.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, Substance Abuse Center, Connecticut Mental Health Center, 34 Park Street, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.



Prior research has shown that cocaine dependence is associated with dysfunction of brain systems involved in emotions and motivational states.


To examine whether difficulties in emotion regulation are associated with early cocaine abstinence using the recently validated Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS).


Recently abstinent treatment-seeking cocaine patients (n=60) completed the DERS during their first week of inpatient treatment and at discharge (3-4 weeks later), and scores were compared with community controls (n=50).


Compared with controls, cocaine-dependent individuals reported difficulties relating to understanding emotions, managing emotions and impulse control in the first week of abstinence. With continued abstinence, cocaine-dependent individuals showed continued difficulties only in impulse control.


Cocaine-dependent individuals report emotion regulation difficulties, particularly during early abstinence. Additionally, protracted distress-related impulse control problems suggest potential relapse vulnerability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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