Introduction and Aims. Drug craving is considered to be an essential component of substance dependence. We aimed to characterise drug-dependent inpatients reporting continuous absence of subjective spontaneous drug craving. Design and Methods. This is a 3year chart-review study designed to compare drug-dependent inpatients who did not report craving everyday (non-cravers) and their counterparts who did (cravers). All participants were recruited consecutively and completed a 14day detoxification treatment. Craving was defined as a desire to use the main detoxification substance. This substance was chosen by patients, who completed a craving visual analogue scale, the Beck Depression Inventory and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory daily. The Temperament and Character Inventory and the Addiction Severity Index were also used. Results. Of the 195 patients who completed the detoxification treatment, 45 (23.1%) were non-cravers and 32 (16.4%) were cravers. The main detoxification substances were alcohol, benzodiazepines, cannabis, cocaine, heroin and methadone. Non-cravers named methadone as the main detoxification substance more frequently than cravers, and benzoylecgonine was less frequently present in their urine at treatment entry. A decreased score on the Temperament and Character Inventory dimension of harm avoidance (i.e. trait anxiety) was the only independent predictor of absence of craving (odds ratio=1.16, 95% confidence interval=1.03-1.31). During admission, non-cravers had lower Beck Depression Inventory and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory scores than cravers. These differences were not accounted for by pharmacological treatment. Discussion and Conclusions. Drug -dependent inpatients who report absence of craving are characterised by relatively low levels of depression and anxiety throughout detoxification treatment, and relatively low levels of trait anxiety. © 2010 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs.
- Harm avoidance