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Profile of the dependent person, in 9 traits and habits

Profile of the dependent person, in 9 traits and habits

June 21, 2024

The consumption of psychoactive substances It is a relatively frequent phenomenon in our society. The reasons for such consumption are many and varied, from treating the effects of a disorder or disease to alleviating the psychological or physical suffering caused by certain circumstances or even simply making recreational use of them.

But many of the people who use drugs habitually end up generating an addiction and dependence on the substance. In order to try to treat these people, it is necessary to study their characteristics and observe if there are points in common from which to work. In other words, it is very useful establish a profile of the person with drug dependence .


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What do we consider to be drug dependence?

Drug addiction is understood as the situation in which an individual habitually consumes one or more substances that he is not able to do without, being said compulsively consummated consumption in order to maintain a state of well-being or to avoid the discomfort associated with the withdrawal syndrome.

The subject in question does not have control of the consumption, wishing it constantly and carrying it out even though he may want and make various attempts to quit it. The person in question spends much of his time and effort in getting the substance. This addiction generates various problems and it diminishes the functioning of the person in a great majority of the domains and vital areas.


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From occasional consumption to addiction

Having a dependence on a substance or drug supposes a more or less long process (depending on the substance, frequency of consumption, quantity and personality characteristics). The process begins with sporadic consumption that, in spite of not provoking the need to repeat itself or generate its absence anxiety, ends up reappearing and little by little it becomes something more habitual.

Over time, the body acquires a certain tolerance and it becomes necessary to consume more quantity in periods that are less and less separated in time in order to obtain the same effects as at the beginning. Consumption goes from becoming occasional to abusive, generalizing to various situations despite not being essential. Finally, as the habituation increases, the subject needs more and more in less time, losing little by little the control of the consumption and arriving to suffer adverse reactions in the absence of the drug.


The profile of the drug addict

Abusive use and drug dependence can be the result of a great variety of situations and circumstances, with which establishing a typical profile of the subject with drug dependence can be complex .

However, through the analysis of representative samples of the population, it is possible to establish a series of common characteristics among people who suffer from an addiction of this type.

1. Most frequent addictive substances: Alcohol, cocaine and heroin

There is a wide range of substances and drugs capable of producing dependence. The most frequent is alcohol, which due to the social acceptance of its consumption in general and its popularity tends to cause almost half of the cases of substance dependence .

With respect to illegal drugs, cocaine is the substance to which a greater number of people are addicted (although the most consumed is cannabis, a dependency is not usually generated), followed by heroin and other substances.

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2. Sex and age

The different studies carried out with respect to the type of individuals suffering from drug dependence reflect that there is a higher prevalence of substance addiction among men than among women.

The average age of the drug dependent is currently between twenty and fifty years of age, being the beginning of consumption during adolescence or early adulthood frequent.

3. Marital status: generally singles

With the exception of alcohol addiction, in which about 62% of cases have a partner, the most typical profile of the subject with drug dependence is that of a single person . In cases where there is a couple, there are often conjugal problems and family problems, whether they are the cause or consequence of addiction.

4. Socio-educational and labor level means

When you think about a subject addicted to drugs, many people tend to think that they are people of a low educational level, without work or studies and with few economic resources. However, although in some cases this image inherited from the eighties is true today, a large number of drug addicts are individuals they have at least primary and secondary education, in many cases even higher , having a job or profession that allows you to live relatively normally.

The exception, according to reports from the Proyecto Hombre, can be found in individuals politoxicómanos and / or addicted to heroin . Individuals addicted to heroin or more than one substance usually belong to more unstructured environments, having more family and social problems, as well as health. In many cases they do not have studies or employment.

5. Personality characteristics

With respect to the way of being of the addicted person, his personality and way of perceiving and acting in the world , there is also a great divergence between subjects. However, as a general rule they tend to be people with difficulties to establish limits and with little tolerance for frustration. They usually have high levels of anxiety or frustration.

In many cases there are feelings of low self-esteem and an adverse self-image that they try to supply through the immediate gratification of needs and evasion. As well the presence of emotional instability is frequent , relational dependence and little confidence in themselves. Sometimes they may have too high expectations, which they can not reach, although in other cases the problem is the absence of aspirations due to vital inhibition.

In many cases the origin of the addictive process can be found in the attempt to be accepted socially, overcome their own limitations or alleviate a situation of pain, isolation and little adaptation to the context.

6. They may seek to fill feelings of emptiness or despair.

Addiction to a substance does not appear from nowhere. The sporadic contact or consumption with a drug can provoke very different sensations that the user may consider pleasurable, but in many cases behind continued consumption there may be the attempt to reduce anxiety and suffering . The psychoactive substance is used in order to fill an internal vacuum, experiencing thanks to it sensations that help avoid and distract from aversive and frustrating situations such as abandonment, family or social abuse or the existence of a disability or disorder.

In this way, the drug consumed has a role and meaning for the drug addict, being an important element to try to maintain a certain mental well-being by at least temporarily supplying internal or external lacks and frustrations.

At the time of treating drug addiction it will be necessary to identify and work on the meaning of the drug or the fact of drugging for the individual, which represents for him and which allows him to do, feel or fail to do or feel.

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7. They live in a sociocultural context that promotes their consumption

The sociocultural context is also an element to take into account when explaining drug addiction. In a society with a large number of social norms and impositions, some of them applied partially or unfairly, many subjects resort to the consumption of illegal substances as a sign of rebellion , generating the social perception that consuming is positive. Living with this type of context in which consumption is valued positively and seen as a sign of rebellion and liberation facilitates contact with the substance, directly or indirectly inducing frequent consumption.

It is important to bear in mind that with the socio-cultural context there is no reference necessarily (although in some cases there is also some connection) to the family environment, being frequent that many drug addicts are raised in families with values ​​contrary to consumption. Friendships, couples, work contacts or simply the knowledge that other people use drugs as a mechanism of evasion, identity search or protest can be other triggers of contact and subsequent dependence of substances.

Also in cases in which the addicted person decides to stop using the detoxification is much more complex if the stimuli the reinforcement received at environmental and / or social level can be associated with the drug.

Bibliographic references:

  • Project Man. (2012). Man Project Observatory on the profile of the drug addict. Report 2012. Delegation of the Government for the National Plan on Drugs, Spain.

Codependency Test | 9 Codependent Signs (June 2024).


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