Subtyping of individuals undergoing treatment for cocaine

Subtyping of individuals undergoing treatment for cocaine
Psicothema 2008. Vol. 20, nº 4, pp. 538-544
www.psicothema.com
ISSN 0214 - 9915 CODEN PSOTEG
Copyright © 2008 Psicothema
Subtyping of individuals undergoing treatment for cocaine dependence
Ana López Durán y Elisardo Becoña Iglesias
Universidad de Santiago de Compostela
To identify subtypes among individuals undergoing treatment for cocaine dependence, we evaluated
115 people with regard to sociodemographic, drug-related and psychopathological characteristics. Ten
variables were preselected as the basis for a two-step cluster analysis with the aim of identifying subtypes. Two subtypes were identified (Type A, N= 37, and Type B, N= 78 subjects). The variable that
best discriminated the two subtypes was occasional heroin consumption. In addition, there were significant differences in mean age, mean age at onset of cocaine consumption, mean number of years
consuming cocaine, and principal route of ingestion. None of the psychopathological variables considered significantly differentiated the two groups.
Subtipos entre las personas con dependencia de la cocaína en tratamiento. Evaluamos en 115 personas con dependencia de la cocaína, las características sociodemográficas, aspectos relacionados con el
consumo de drogas y determinadas características psicopatológicas con el objetivo de identificar la
existencia de subtipos entre las personas que están en tratamiento por dependencia de la cocaína. Seleccionamos diez variables para realizar un análisis de conglomerados en dos fases, identificándose dos
subtipos (A, 37 sujetos, y B, 78 sujetos). La variable más importante para diferenciar entre los dos subtipos es el consumo de heroína alguna vez en la vida. Además, hay diferencias significativas en la media de edad, en la edad de inicio en el consumo de cocaína, en la media de años de consumo de cocaína y en la vía principal de consumo. Ninguna de las variables psicopatológicas utilizadas en el análisis
resultó significativa para diferenciar entre los dos grupos.
The identification of subtypes among drug users began in
alcoholism research (Jellinek, 1946). Babor et al. (1992) reported
the existence of two subtypes of alcohol-dependent subject,
denominated subtypes A and B. Subtype A is characterized by late
onset of alcohol consumption, paucity of childhood risk factors,
lack of familial antecedents, lower severity of dependence, low
impulsivity and sensation-seeking scores, and high harmavoidance scores. Subtype B is characterized by early onset of
alcohol consumption, presence of childhood risk factors and/or
familial antecedents, more severe dependence, consumption of
other drugs, psychiatric comorbidity, and high impulsivity,
sensation-seeking and antisocial behaviour scores. More recent is
the research of Carpenter, Liu & Hasin (2006).
In the field of cocaine dependence, a noteworthy study was
performed by Ball, Carroll, Babor and Rounsaville (1995), based
on the alcoholic subtyping of Babor et al. (1992). These authors
established two subtypes of cocaine user (independently of
whether or not they were undergoing treatment), as a function of
premorbid risk factors (age at onset of drug consumption, familial
drug use, etc.), variables related to drug abuse (years duration,
frequency, etc.), psychiatric problems (depression symptoms,
Fecha recepción: 21-9-07 • Fecha aceptación: 20-2-08
Correspondencia: Ana López Durán
Facultad de Psicología
Universidad de Santiago de Compostela
15782 Santiago de Compostela (Spain)
E-mail: [email protected]
personality disorders, etc.) and sociodemographic variables. In a
sample of cocaine users, they found that 67% were subtype A and
33% subtype B. In line with Babor et al.’s classification, subtypeB subjects showed more premorbid risk factors, greater severity of
drug and alcohol dependence, greater psychosocial decline related
to drug abuse, and antisocial behaviour and psychiatric problems.
The two most important variables explaining the differences
between the two groups were severity of alcohol consumption and
antisocial personality. The two subtypes did not differ as regards
treatment compliance or abstinence rates.
Heil, Badger & Higgins (2001) classified cocaine users in
terms of route of cocaine ingestion and presence or absence of
concurrent alcohol consumption. They concluded that subjects
who generally use the snorting route tend to have more problems
with alcohol and consume alcohol mainly in social situations,
whereas subjects who generally use the smoking route are less
likely to have alcohol problems.
Although there have been few studies aimed at subtyping
subjects undergoing treatment for cocaine dependence, the clinical
evidence available suggests that relevant subtypes exist.
Determination of subtypes among subjects undergoing treatment
is likely to prove useful for optimizing the treatment strategy to be
used in each case.
The aim of the present study was to identify subtypes among
subjects undergoing treatment for cocaine dependence in the
Centers of Drug Dependences in Galicia, NW Spain. Subtyping was
based on the following variables: sociodemographic characteristics,
aspects related to drug use, and psychopathological characteristics.
SUBTYPING OF INDIVIDUALS UNDERGOING TREATMENT FOR COCAINE DEPENDENCE
On the basis of previous studies of cocaine users in Spain
(Barrio-Anta, López-Gigosos, de la Fuente de Hoz, & RodríguezArtalejo, 1997; Bobes, Sáiz, González, & Bascarán, 2001; Calafat
et al., 2000; Esparcia & Celorrio, 2005; García-Rodríguez et al.,
2007; Lizosaín & Moro, 1998; López & Becoña, 2006; Muga,
2001; Muñoz, Navas, Graña, & Martínez, 2006; Rivera, 2005), we
hypothesized that subjects undergoing treatment for cocaine
dependence can be classified into three subtypes:
Subtype 1 - Age generally below 25 years. Consulting for
treatment for drug abuse for the first time. Principal route of
ingestion snorting; cocaine consumption generally associated
with social recreational contexts, and thus with other drugs
including alcohol. Have never used heroin. Psychopathological
scores lower than in the other two subtypes.
Subtype 2 - Age generally 25 - 30 years. First or second
consultation for treatment for drug abuse. Principal route of
ingestion snorting; cocaine consumption generally commenced
in a social recreational context, but in many cases has become
a solitary habit. Consumption generally remains associated
with alcohol use. Have never used heroin. Psychopathological
scores higher than in the general population, and personality
traits include dependence, histrionicism and narcissism.
Subtype 3 - Age generally more than 30 years. Have
previously received treatment for drug abuse. Principal route of
ingestion injection or smoking; cocaine consumption generally
solitary. Consumption not generally associated with alcohol
use, although alcohol problems may be present. Most subjects
have taken heroin at some stage. Psychopathological scores
high, with highly destructured functioning. Personality traits
include antisocial behaviour.
Method
Participants
The participants in the study were 115 subjects (99 men, 16
women) under treatment in six public Centers of Drug
Dependence in the region of Galicia in NW Spain. The sample was
selected between 23 September 2003 and 28 April 2005 on the
basis of the following criteria: under treatment for abuse of
cocaine as principal drug; cocaine dependence as defined by
DSM-IV-TR (SCID-I questionnaire of First, Spitzer, Gibbson and
Williams, 1998); between 3 and 6 weeks abstinence from cocaine
consumption at the onset of the study; absence of severe psychotic
alterations; and capacity to respond to the evaluation instruments
used. A total of 119 subjects were initially included in the study,
but one subject was excluded because he did not meet criterion 2
(not cocaine-dependent) and three subjects were excluded because
they did not meet criterion 3 (they had been abstinent for more
than 6 weeks).
Instruments
The admission sheet of the drug dependence treatment
programme, which collects diverse information about patients
starting the programme, including sociodemographic information
and various aspects related to drug consumption.
An instrument specially designed for the present study,
designed to evaluate characteristics of cocaine consumption and
its consequences.
539
A global evaluation of the patient performed by your therapist.
For this evaluation, the therapist rated the patient’s
psychopathological, familial/social, work and judicial status on
five-point (0 - 4) scales. In the case of psychopathological status,
0 indicated absence of symptoms, 1 mild symptoms, 2 moderate
symptoms, 3 severe psychopathological disorder, and 4 severe
psychopathological disorder with significant distortion of reality
and/or communication deficit. In the case of familial/social status,
0 indicated normal functioning, 1 minor difficulties, 2 moderate
difficulties, 3 severe difficulties, and 4 severe incapacity to
maintain familial and social relations. In the case of work status, 0
indicated normal functioning, 1 minor difficulties, 2 moderate
difficulties, 3 severe difficulties, and 4 severe incapacity for work.
In the case of judicial status («problems with the law»), 0 indicated
absence of judicial problems, 1 accusation of a minor offense, 2
accusation of a major offense, 3 on remand, and 4 currently in
prison.
The Spanish version (First et al., 1998) of the Structured
Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID), for evaluation of cocaine
dependence.
The Spanish version (Contel, Gual, & Colom, 1999) of the
Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) of Saunders,
Aasland, Babor, De la Fuente and Grant (1993), for evaluating the
existence of excessive alcohol consumption and alcohol
dependence.
The Spanish version (Vázquez & Sanz, 1997) of the Beck
Depression Inventory (BDI) (Beck, Rush, Shaw, & Emery, 1979).
The Spanish version of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory
(STAI) (Spielberger, Gorsuch, & Luchene, 1971).
The Spanish version of the Millon Clinical Multiaxial
Inventory (MCMI-II) for evaluating personality characteristics and
certain clinical syndromes (Millon, 1999).
The Spanish version (Derogatis, 2002) of the Symptoms
Checklist Revised (SCL-90-R), for evaluation of subjective
feelings of malaise, and certain specific symptoms.
A 10-item self-administered scale to assess cravings,
specifically designed for the present study (alpha coefficient= .86);
hereinafter the Cravings Scale.
Procedure
Subjects were a consecutive series of patients consulting for
psychological treatment in several publicly run Drug Dependence
Centers in Galicia, NW Spain, between September 2003 and April
2005. For all patients thought to meet the criteria for inclusion in
the study, an appointment was made for consideration by us. All
subjects participating in the study gave written informed consent.
Data analysis
Subtypes were identified using two-step cluster analysis as
implemented by SPSS for Windows version 12.0, with loglikelihood distance measure (as required for analyses considering
both continuous and categorical variables) and automatic
determination of number of clusters using the Schwartz Bayesian
Criterion. A total of 10 variables were considered in this analysis:
Age. This is a key variable in drug dependence: younger people
have generally been consuming drugs for less time, and the
negative consequences of the drug use are generally less severe
than in older drug users.
540
ANA LÓPEZ DURÁN AND ELISARDO BECOÑA IGLESIAS
Aspects related to drug use. a) Age at which cocaine
consumption commenced, negatively correlated with the severity
of problems due to cocaine consumption. b) Time since onset of
cocaine consumption (i.e. current age minus age at onset),
positively correlated with the severity of problems due to cocaine
consumption. c) Heroin consumption at some stage in life (in
some cases heroin is consumed at the same time as cocaine with
the aim of moderating the latter drug’s intense stimulatory effects,
while in other cases the subject was at one stage heroin-dependent
but currently does not consume this drug); heroin consumption is
generally associated with higher cocaine consumption, by the
smoked or injected routes, and thus with more severe negative
consequences (Leri, Bruneau, & Stewart, 2003; Ochoa, 2000;
Weiss, Martínez-Raga, & Hufford, 1996). d) Frequency of
consumption in the 6 months prior to treatment onset (subjects
who consume cocaine every day can be expected to show more
severe negative consequences than subjects who consume only
once a week (Kasarabada, Anglin, Khalsa-Denison, & Paredes,
1998). e) Principal route of cocaine consumption in the 6 months
prior to treatment onset, again expected to be related to the
severity of negative consequences (smoking or injection is
typically associated with higher consumptions, and higher risk of
diseases related to needle sharing).
Psychopathological characteristics. a) AUDIT score: cocaine
consumption is in many cases related to significant alcohol
consumption, and in many subjects there is suspicion of alcohol
dependence (Brown, Seraganian & Tremblay, 1994). Abuse of
additional drugs like alcohol can be expected to be associated with
more severe negative consequences (Carroll, Rounsaville, &
Bryant, 1993; Gossop, Mardsen, & Stewart, 2002). b) BDI score:
depressive symptoms in a recently abstinent subject are often
initially related to the abstinence, but as abstinence symptoms
decline may be increasingly attributable to the longer-term
negative consequences of drug use, and subjects with drugsrelated problems are likely to have high BDI scores. c) STAI-State
score: the State subscale of this instrument measures anxiety at the
moment of administration, reflecting the subject’s current anxiety,
and thus directly influenced by the negative consequences of
cocaine abuse (O’Leary, Rohsenow, Martin, Colby, Eaton, &
Monti, 2000). d) The General Symptomatic Index of the SCL-90R evaluates the subject’s general feelings of malaise over the
preceding week, in terms of 90 symptoms; a high score indicates
higher malaise.
Thus the ten variables considered in the cluster analysis were
age (years), age at onset of cocaine consumption (years), time since
onset of cocaine consumption (years), some-time heroin
consumption (yes or no), frequency of cocaine consumption over
the 6 months before start of treatment (daily, weekly, or
occasional), principal route of cocaine administration (snorting,
smoking, or injection), severity of alcohol abuse over the preceding
year (AUDIT score), state anxiety (score on State subscale of the
STAI), depressive symptoms (BDI score), and general malaise
(score on General Symptomatic Index of SCL-90-R).
Results
Subtypes
cocaine dependence. Of the 115 subjects included in the present
study, 37 fell into the first subtype (A), and 78 into the second
subtype (B). Significant between-subtype differences were found
in five of the ten variables considered (see tables 1 and 2, figure 1):
mean age (34.2 years in subtype A, 29.4 years in subtype B; t(113)=
4.02, p<.001); mean age at onset of cocaine consumption (18.4
years in subtype A, 20.5 years in subtype B; t(113)= -2.23, p<.05);
mean time since onset of cocaine consumption (16.0 years in
Table 1
Continuous variables considered in the cluster analysis for identification
of subtypes, showing mean values for each variable in each of the subtypes
obtained
Subtype A Subtype B
(n= 37)
(n= 78)
Mean S.D. Mean S.D.
Age (years)
34.22
(5.58)
29.37
(6.22)
4.02***
Age at onset of cocaine consumption (years)
18.43
(2.72)
20.50
(5.31)
-2.23*
Time since onset of cocaine consumption (years)
16.03
(5.50)
8.88
(5.28)
6.68***
AUDIT score over preceding year
9.67
(8.08)
12.25
(8.43)
-1.55
State-anxiety (STAI-S) score
23.45
(15.36)
22.29
(11.62)
0.45
Depressive symptoms (BDI) score
15.86
(11.06)
12.62
(9.88)
1.58
General Symptomatic Index store
0.90
(0.57)
0.79
(0.56)
0.93
* p<.05; ** p<.01; *** p<.001
Table 2
Categorical variables considered in the cluster analysis for identification
of subtypes, showing number of subjects in each category in each
of the subtypes obtained
Subtype A
(n= 37)
Subtype B
(n= 78)
N
%
N
%
χ2 (1)
Have you ever taken heroin?
No
Yes
04
33
004.9
100.0
78
00
95.1
00.0
97.56***
How often were you taking cocaine
over the 6 months before treatment
started?
Less than once a week
Once or more a week
Every day
04
11
22
026.7
022.9
042.3
11
37
30
73.3
77.1
57.7
4.54
Principal route of consumption
Snorting
Smoking
Injection
11
11
15
012.5
091.7
100.0
77
01
00
87.5
08.3
00.0
66.69***
* p<.05; ** p<.01; *** p<.001
In view of the variables considered, our results indicate that
there are two subtypes of subjects undergoing treatment for
t
(1)
Exact test of Fisher when indicated
541
SUBTYPING OF INDIVIDUALS UNDERGOING TREATMENT FOR COCAINE DEPENDENCE
100
lifetime heroine use?
91,7
cocaine injection
cocaine smoked
8,3
12,5
87,5
100
cocaine snorted
years taking cocaine
age at onset of cocaine consumption
age
16,03
8,88
20,5
18,43
32,22
29,37
SUBTYPE A
SUBTYPE B
Figure 1. Variables showing significant differences between the two subtypes, considering the ten variables used in the cluster analysis
subtype A, 8.9 years in subtype B; t(113)= 6.68, p<.001); some-time
heroin consumption (89% of subjects in group A, 0% of subjects
in group B; χ2(1)= 97.56, p<.001); and principal route of
administration (roughly 1/3 each route in group A, almost
exclusively snorting in group B, see table 3; χ2(2)= 66.96, p<.001).
Thus subtype-A subjects are generally older, started to
consume cocaine younger, have consumed cocaine for longer,
generally use the injection route, and have consumed heroin at
some stage in their life.
There were no significant differences between the two subtypes
in AUDIT score, STAI state-anxiety score, BDI score, General
Symptomatic Index score, or frequency of consumption of cocaine
over the six months prior to treatment.
We next compared the two subtypes as regards the remaining
variables, with the results shown in tables 4 and 5 and summarized
in what follows.
Sociodemographic variables
Principal source of income was work for only 49% of subtypeA subjects, versus 85% of subtype-B subjects (χ2(2)= 22.06,
p<.001). In line with this, only 32% of subtype-A subjects versus
59% of subtype-B subjects were in work at the start of treatment
(χ2(2)= 7.84, p<.05).
Of the subtype-A subjects, 84% had a partner at the start of
treatment, versus only 62% of subtype-B subjects (χ2(1)= 5.77,
p<.05).
Variables related to drug use
Of the subtype-A subjects, only 32% requested psychotherapy
on admission to the treatment programme, versus 64% of subtypeB subjects; admission to a therapeutic community was requested
by 30% of subtype-A subjects, versus only 15% of subtype-B
subjects.
Mean duration of previous treatment was 458 days in subtype
A, versus 104 days in subtype B (t(113)= 3.02, p<.01).
In subtype A, 67% of subjects had not at some time needed
emergency hospital treatment related to drug use, versus 87% of
subjects in subtype B. Mean lifetime number of emergency visits
was 0.66 in subtype A versus 0.16 in subtype B (t(113)= 2.92,
p<.01).
In subtype A, 83% of subjects had previously been treated for
problems related to drug abuse, versus 26.9% of subjects in
subtype B (χ2(1)= 32.75, p<.001). Mean number of previous
treatments for drug dependence was 2.21 in subtype A, versus 0.43
in subtype B (t(113)= 7.07, p<.001).
All subjects with confirmed HIV infection were in subtype A.
However, it should be stressed that 51% of subtype-B subjects had
not undergone HIV testing, versus only 19% of subtype-A subjects
(χ2(1)= 15.36, p<.001).
Since the start of the treatment programme, 68% of subtype-A
subjects had not consumed alcohol, versus 44% of subtype-B
subjects (χ2(1)= 5.77, p<.05). The reasons for alcohol consumption
behaviour likewise differed between the two subtypes (χ2(1)=
19.69, p<.01): 16% of subtype-A subjects had never drunk
alcohol, versus 6% of subtype-B subjects; 11% of subtype-A
subjects were not drinking at the time of evaluation following
medical advice, versus 26% of subtype-B subjects; 26% of
subtype-A subjects were not drinking at the time of evaluation
because they were in a therapeutic community in which drinking
was banned, versus 4% of subtype-B subjects; 41% of subtype-A
subjects were drinking alcohol at the time of evaluation, versus
62% of subtype-B subjects.
None of the subtype-B subjects was taking part in a methadone
maintenance programme, versus 16% of subtype-A subjects (χ2(1)=
5.77, p<.05); this is despite the fact that all subjects were cocainedependent and considered cocaine to be their principal problem drug.
The mean maximum reported amount of cocaine consumed in
a single day was 6.47 g in subtype A, versus 3.88 g in subtype B
(t(113)= 3.43, p<.01). Mean reported financial outlay on cocaine
before the start of the treatment programme was 2735 € in subtype
A, versus 1325 € in subtype B (t(113)= 2.33, p<.05).
Mean score on the Cravings Scale was higher in subtype A
(3.86) than in subtype B (2.87) (t(113)= 2.15, p<.05).
In the evaluation of impact of cocaine abuse on relationships
with family, 76% of subjects in subtype A rated the impact as
severe or very severe, versus 55% of subjects in subtype B (χ2(2)=
8.02, p<.05). None of the subjects in subtype A rated the impact as
zero or nearly zero.
There were also differences between subtypes as regards
problems with the law: only 54% of subtype-A subjects reported
little or no impact of cocaine abuse on problems of this type,
versus 81% of subtype-B subjects (χ2(2)= 9.04, p<.01).
542
ANA LÓPEZ DURÁN AND ELISARDO BECOÑA IGLESIAS
Table 3
Categorical variables showing significant differences between subtypes A and B
Subtype A
Subtype B
n
%
n
%
χ2 (1)
Gender
Man
Woman
31
6
83.8
16.2
68
10
87.2
12.8
0.24
Treatment subtype requested
Psychotherapy
Therapeutic community
Other
12
11
8
32.4
29.7
21.6
50
12
4
64.1
15.4
5.1
13.80**
Principal source of income
Work
Family
Other
18
8
11
48.6
21.6
29.7
66
10
2
84.6
12.8
2.6
22.06***
Employment situation
Employed
Unemployed
Other
12
18
7
32.4
48.6
18.9
46
26
6
59.0
33.3
7.7
7.84*
Partner?
No
Yes
6
31
16.2
83.8
30
48
38.5
61.5
5.77*
Emergency hospital treatment ever required?
No
Yes
24
12
66.7
33.3
68
10
87.2
12.8
6.65*
Previous treatments for drug dependence?
No
Yes
6
31
16.2
83.8
57
21
73.1
26.9
32.75***
HIV infection?
No
Yes
Not known
27
3
7
73.0
8.1
18.9
38
0
40
48.7
0.0
51.3
15.36***
Consumption of other drugs during treatment: alcohol?
No
Yes
25
12
67.6
32.4
34
44
43.6
56.4
5.77*
Consumption of other drugs during treatment: methadone?
No
Yes
31
6
83.8
16.2
78
0
100
0.0
5.77*
Because of cocaine use problems, my relationships with
my family have been affected…
Not at all or hardly at all
A little or quite a lot
A lot or a great deal
0
9
28
0.0
24.3
75.7
13
22
43
16.7
28.2
55.1
8.02*
Because of my cocaine use problems, I’ve had problems
with the law…
Not at all or hardly at all
A little or quite a lot
A lot or a great deal
20
11
6
54.1
29.7
16.2
63
8
7
80.8
10.3
9.0
9.40**
Current alcohol consumption
Never drink alcohol
Drinking alcohol currently
Only drink alcohol when taking cocaine
Have stopped drinking alcohol
Alcohol prohibited in therapeutic community
6
15
2
4
20
16.2
40.5
5.4
10.8
25.6
5
48
2
20
3
6.4
61.5
2.6
25.6
3.8
19.69**
Normal functioning
Some difficulties
Moderate difficulties
Major difficulties
Very severe alterations
8
7
7
7
7
23.5
20.6
20.6
20.6
100
22
28
13
11
0
29.7
37.8
65.0
61.1
0.0
Therapist’s evaluation of work/academic situation
13.91**
* p<.05; ** p<.01; *** p<.001
(1) Exact test of Fisher when indicated
Psychopathological characteristics
Of the psychopathological variables evaluated in the present
study, significant differences between subtypes A and B were
observed only on four of the scales of the MCMI-II. Within the
Moderate Personality Disorder scales, subtype-A subjects had a
lower mean score than subtype-B subjects on the Dependent scale
(52.8 versus 63.6; t(100)= -2.36, p<.05), a higher mean score on the
Antisocial scale (77.4 versus 67.5; t(100)= 2.41, p<.05), and a lower
mean score on the Compulsive scale (38.9 versus 50.6; t(100)= 1.99,
p<.05). Within the Moderate Clinical Syndrome scales, subtype-A
subjects had a higher mean score than subtype-B subjects on the
Drug Dependence scale (78.1 versus 71.7; t(100)= 1.99, p<.05).
Differences were not observed in trait-anxiety, or in Positive
Symptoms Total and Positive Symptoms Distress Index of SCL90-R.
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SUBTYPING OF INDIVIDUALS UNDERGOING TREATMENT FOR COCAINE DEPENDENCE
Table 4
Continuous variables showing significant differences between subtypes A and B
Subtype A (n= 37)
Time since start of current treatment (days)
Subtype B (n= 78)
Mean
S.D.
Mean
S.D.
t
3.02**
457.70
994.61
103.56
208.10
Lifetime number of emergency hospital visits
0.66
1.33
0.16
0.49
2.92**
Number of previous treatments for drug dependence
2.21
1.85
0.43
0.84
7.07***
3.43**
Maximum cocaine consumption in a single day (g)
Total monthly outlay on cocaine (€)
Dependent personality score (TB)
6.47
5.14
3.88
2.92
2735.16
3659.87
1324.65
2686.62
2.33*
52.79
22.41
63.60
21.38
-2.36*
Antisocial personality score (TB)
77.35
19.93
67.49
19.26
2.41*
Compulsive personality score (TB)
38.88
26.22
50.62
18.65
-2.60*
Moderate Clinical Syndromes: Drug Abuse score (TB)
78.12
13.74
71.72
16.01
1.99*
Cravings Scale score
3.86
2.56
2.87
2.18
2.15*
* p<.05; ** p<.01; *** p<.001
Therapist’s evaluation
Therapists rated patients’ psychopathological, familial/social,
work and judicial status. Significant differences were observed
only in work status, since all subjects showing major alterations in
this area were of subtype A (χ2(4)= 13.91, p<.01).
Discussion
The two-step cluster analysis performed in the present study
indicates the existence of two subtypes among subjects
undergoing treatment for cocaine dependence: subtype A (about
30% of subjects in the present study) comprises older subjects who
typically started using cocaine at a younger age and who have
been using it for longer, who typically ingest their cocaine by
injection or smoking, who have at some time taken heroin, who
have needed emergency hospital treatment related to drug use, and
who have a relatively high risk of HIV infection. Subjects in this
subtype are more likely to show antisocial personality. This
finding is in line with Weiss et al. (1996), who found that
combined cocaine and opiate users are more likely to show
antisocial personality and to have been using cocaine for longer
than cocaine-only users.
Subtype B (about 70% of 78 subjects in the present study) are
typically younger, started cocaine consumption at a later age and
have been consuming for a shorter period, and typically ingest
their cocaine by snorting. These subjects are less likely to show
negative consequences associated with cocaine abuse. Personality
subtype is more likely to be dependent or compulsive.
Thus the differences between the two subtypes are basically
sociodemographic and drug-use-related, with psychopathological
variables showing only minor differences between the two groups.
Similar results are obtained if we take into account the other
variables considered in the study.
Subjects in subtype A typically request entry into a therapeutic
community, or some other non-psychotherapy treatment, while
subjects in subtype B typically request psychotherapy. Subjects in
subtype A probably have a partner. In both groups the main source
of income is work, but a higher proportion of subjects in subtype
A have family or «other» as main source of income. Subjects in
subtype A are more likely to be working.
Subjects in subtype A are more likely to have required
emergency hospital treatment related to drug use, to have
previously received treatment for drug use, and to be HIV-infected
(although note that in the present study a higher proportion of
subjects in subtype B had never undergone HIV testing). Subjects
in subtype B are more likely to be alcohol drinkers (because a
larger proportion of these subjects have never drunk, and a smaller
proportion enter therapeutic communities in which drinking is
prohibited). In the present study, all subjects in the methadone
maintenance programme belonged to subtype A.
In general, subtype-A subjects consider their cocaine
consumption to have had more severe effects on family
relationships and problems with the law.
Subtype-A subjects are more likely to show an antisocial
personality subtype than subtype-B subjects, who are more likely
to show dependent or compulsive personality subtype.
Finally, the therapists’ evaluation of subtype-A subjects is more
likely to indicate severe impacts of drug abuse in the work/study
sphere.
The two subtypes identified in the present study show a close
correspondence with subtypes 2 and 3 proposed in the
Introduction. However, there were no differences in
psychopathological characteristics between subtypes A and B, in
contrast with the subtyping hypothesized a priori and in contrast
with the suggestions of previous studies (Bobes et al., 2001;
Lizosaín & Moro, 1998; Muga, 2001).
A possible explanation for our non-identification of the
subtype 1 hypotethesized, is that younger subjects have generally
been consuming heroin for a shorter time and have not yet reached
clinically diagnosed dependence (see Barrio-Anta et al., 1997);
thus such subjects were not included in the present study.
In conclusion, the differences between the two subtypes
identified in the present study are related to variables describing
cocaine abuse, not psychopathological variables. These results
indicate that cocaine-dependent subjects who have taken heroin at
some stage in their life, and who generally ingest cocaine by
smoking or injection, do not have more psychopathological
544
ANA LÓPEZ DURÁN AND ELISARDO BECOÑA IGLESIAS
difficulties than cocaine-dependent subjects who have never
consumed heroin and who ingest cocaine by snorting; this is
despite the fact that a priori one would expect the former pattern
to be more damaging (Leri et al., 2003; Ochoa, 2000; Weiss et al.,
1996), and thus more likely to lead to psychopathological
problems.
These results indicate that in the design and adaptation of
assistance programmes for subjects undergoing treatment for
cocaine dependence, it is important to take into account that
sociodemographic characteristics and drug consumption
behaviour may differ markedly between individuals.
Independently of these characteristics, however, it is necessary to
individually evaluate the psychopathological characteristics of all
subjects.
In next studies, we must analyze variables like severity of
dependence, impulsivity or sensation-seeking. Similar to studies
of Babor et al. (1992) and Schuckit et al. (1995).
Acknowledgements
We thank the directors and staff of the following Centers of
Drug Dependence of Galicia, Spain for facilitating the present
study: Alborada (Vigo), ACLAD (A Coruña), UAD Concello de
Pontevedra (Pontevedra), and CEDRO (Vigo).
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