Do substance abuse patients share any common traits?

Robert Rozsay
Addiction Medicine
Yes, substance abuse patients share common traits. They have developed unhealthy survival skills to protect them from being hurt and to medicate away past hurts. Because of their deficiency in life skills, they are either obsessing on (addiction) or running away from (aversion) solvable issues.

They are more likely to have experienced adverse childhood events (ACEs) such as physical abuse, verbal abuse, abandonment, loss of a parent, etc. They are more likely to have lower levels of self-esteem and resilience. As well, they could have a blood relative who was also addicted to drugs, alcohol, etc. In their decision making ability, they are less likely to be able to identify a variety of responses to stressors, thereby choosing addiction as the preferred response.

Substance abuse patients share some common traits. Research indicates that patients with substance abuse problems were more likely to be unmarried and have lower incomes. They had substance abuse-related health problems such as hepatitis, liver disease and gastric disorders along with higher levels of depression, manic disorders and serious mental illness.

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