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April 1973

Self-Destructive Aspects of Hard Core Addiction

Author Affiliations

Rockville, Md
From the National Institute of Mental Health, Rockville, Md. Dr. Wittlin is currently with the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center, Los Angeles.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;28(4):579-585. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.01750340097015

Indications of depression, suicidal behavior, and attitudes toward death, dying, and violent behavior were assessed by a Morbidity Attitude Survey Scale and a Depression Scale. Subjects were 98 hard core addicts on heroin who were in either a methadone treatment or an abstinence program.

The results showed distinct evidence of depression among the addicted group compared with controls; a greater incidence of suicide attempts among addicts than control groups, except blacks; different attitudes toward violence and morbidity between addicts and controls, particularly when abstaining from methadone; and methadone appeared to be helpful while subjects were on the drug, but when abstaining its effects were in doubt. The findings suggest that suicide attempts among young people are greater than is commonly believed, particularly among addicts, and a total treatment program is necessary in addition to the use of methadone.

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