Drug-dependent inpatients reporting continuous absence of spontaneous drug craving for the main substance throughout detoxification treatment

José Pérez De Los Cobos, Núria Siñol, Joan Trujols, Enrique Bañuls, Fanny Batlle, Antoni Tejero

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    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)403-410
    JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011


    • Anxiety
    • Craving
    • Depression
    • Detoxification
    • Harm avoidance


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