Emotional control in patients with opioid dependence syndrome and reported history of negative life events

Hamdy F. Moselhy, Ehsan Fahmy, Victor Samy Mikhael, Hussein El-Sheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


AIM: The aim of this study was to evaluate the extent to which individuals who suffer from opioid dependency report controlling emotions of anger, anxiety, and depressed mood. METHOD: Recruitment was achieved through an outpatient drug treatment clinic in Birmingham, UK, and data were collected through a semistructured interview. One hundred and twenty participants with opioid-dependence syndrome were interviewed and 100 controls of nondrug-using family members and friends were included in the study. RESULT: The mean age of the opioid group was 33.3 years, SD=8.8. The majority of the participants were white British (80.8%), unemployed (69.2%), and male (75%). There is a significant difference between the 2 groups in total control of emotional expression scores and all the 3 subscales. The control group had high ability in controlling their emotion and the patient group had very low ability in controlling their emotion (expression of affect) (P=0.000). Suppression of anger mean was clearly very low in the opioid-dependent group indicating a high level of expression of hostility. CONCLUSIONS: The data presented indicate that a significant group of opioid-dependent patients experience and express their emotions in general, and hostile feelings in particular, owing to difficulties in controlling these emotions. Possibly, they tend to use drugs as a self-medication to help themselves in controlling their emotions. By attending to and addressing these issues, health-care workers can alleviate ongoing distress and promote confidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalAddictive Disorders and their Treatment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • emotional control
  • hostility
  • life events
  • opioid dependence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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