Affect dysregulation in cannabis abusers: A study in adolescents and young adults

Géraldine Dorard, Sylvie Berthoz, Olivier Phan, Maurice Corcos, Catherine Bungener
Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2008-02-26; 17(5): 274-282
DOI: 10.1007/s00787-007-0663-7

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1. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2008 Aug;17(5):274-82. doi:
10.1007/s00787-007-0663-7. Epub 2008 Feb 26.

Affect dysregulation in cannabis abusers: a study in adolescents and young

Dorard G(1), Berthoz S, Phan O, Corcos M, Bungener C.

Author information:
(1)Laboratory of Clinical Psychopathology and Neuropsychology, Paris Descartes
University, Institut Henri Piéron, 71 Av Edouard Vaillant, 92100 Boulogne
Billancourt, France.

Psychiatric comorbidity and impaired emotional functioning have been previously
reported in adult substance abusers but have been less well documented in
adolescents. Thus, we investigated mental health problems and emotion regulation
abilities in adolescents and young adults with cannabis dependence. Moreover, we
explored the relationships between consumption modalities and affective style.
Therefore, 32 cannabis abusers (CA) and 30 healthy controls completed a battery
of self-reports measuring depression (BDI-13), anxiety (STAI-Y), alexithymia
(TAS20; BVAQ-B), anhedonia (PAS; SAS), and sensation seeking (SSS). The MINI was
administered to evaluate cannabis dependence and axis I DSM-IV comorbid
diagnoses. A semi-structured clinical interview was given to determine
psychoactive substance use. Statistical analyses revealed that more than half of
the CA reported at least one other non-drug or alcohol comorbid diagnosis. The
most common were mood and anxiety disorders. CA subjects scored significantly
higher on all affective dimensions except alexithymia total scores; however,
they had greater scores for the two subscales measuring the difficulties in
identifying feelings. Logistic regressions demonstrated that CA subjects were
more likely to experience high levels of trait anxiety, physical anhedonia and
sensation seeking than the controls. Various correlations were observed between
the affective scores and the substance considered. The amount of substance use
and, particularly, the prevalence of polydrug use we observed are alarming. This
study demonstrates that cannabis dependence in adolescents and young adults is
related to a great psychological distress and specific emotional dimensions and
puts emphasis on the importance of substance use prevention as early as middle

DOI: 10.1007/s00787-007-0663-7
PMID: 18301941 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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