A 2.5-year follow-up of depression, life crises, and treatment effects on abstinence among opioid addicts

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1986 Aug;43(8):733-8. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.1986.01800080019003.


Follow-up studies have suggested that treatment increases addicts' likelihood of remaining abstinent and that depression and life crises are associated with decreased abstinence. An important issue is to what extent receiving treatment can ameliorate psychosocial risk factors such as life crises and depression and decrease ex-addicts' vulnerability to continued drug abuse. In our 2.5-year follow-up of 268 opiate addicts, drug abuse treatment was generally associated with increased abstinence, and life crises and depression were significant risk factors for continued drug abuse. The impact of these risk factors, however, was ameliorated by drug abuse treatment. Although life crises had a greater impact than depression, these two risk factors had additive effects in increasing the risk for continued drug abuse. Among the types of life crises, arguments and losses ("exits") had very strong additive effects with depression as predictors of drug abuse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Depression / complications
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Narcotics*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / etiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*


  • Narcotics