University of Granada scientists have been the first to analyze the relation between drug abuse and recognition of basic emotions (happiness, surprise, wrath, fear, sadness and disgust) by drug-abusers. Thus, the study revealed that drug-abusers have difficulty to identify negative emotions by their facial expression: wrath, disgust, fear and sadness.
Further, regular abuse of alcohol, cannabis and cocaine usually affects abusers’ fluency and decision-making. Consuming cannabis and cocaine negatively affects working memory and reasoning. Similarly, cocaine abuse is associated to alterations in inhibition.
For the purpose of this study, researchers carried out a psychological evaluation (with thinking evaluation and emotional processing tests) out of a total of 123 multiple-substance abusers and 67 no-drug users with similar social and demographical variables (age and schooling).
A Sample Including multiple-substance Abusers
The target population were individuals who consumed drugs as cocaine, cannabis, heroin, alcohol, MDMA and methamphetamine, and who were enrolled in two rehabilitation projects Proyecto Hombre and Cortijo Buenos Aires in the province of Granada.
The study revealed that 70% of drug abusers presented some type of brain deterioration, regardless the type of substance consumed. Deterioration was registered in major degree in the working memory, and in fluency, flexibility, planning, multitask ability and interference.
Fernández Serrano thinks that the results obtained “should be employed to develop political and social policies aimed at promoting adequate rehab programs adapted to the psychological profile of drug-abusers”.
Bloggers comment; Many people in recovery from addiction and alcoholism know this syndrome well.