PSYCHOSOCIAL STRESSORS AND DEPRESSION AMONG FORMER HEROIN-DEPENDENT PATIENTS MAINTAINED ON METHADONE


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Abstract

In a survey of 106 former heroin addicts now maintained on methadone at a methadone treatment center, it was found that approximately one third were clinically depressed and would fit the diagnostic category of a secondary depression.Since there were no distinguishing sociodemographic differences between the depressed and nondepressed methadone-maintained patients, they provide a suitable sample for studying the relationship of life events and depression status. While the level of life events reported by the methadone patients was high when compared to community normals or primary depressed patients, the depressed methadone patient reported significantly more life events than the nondepressed methadone patient. Analysis of different categories of events showed the events involving exits from the social field, arguments, or financial reverses distinguished the depressed from the nondepressed methadone patient. These are the same categories in which events were reported more frequently by nonaddict depressed patients in other studies. The results suggest the role of specific psychosocial stressors in the etiology of depressive illness.

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