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Dependency and Substance

Use Disorders Dozens of studies have examined the possibility that dependent persons might be at elevated risk for substance use disorders. The results of these investigations have been decidedly mixed. For example, although studies confirm that dependent persons are at increased risk for tobacco addiction, numerous investigations have failed to obtain the hypothesized relationship be- tween dependency and risk for alcoholism.

In fact, lon- gitudinal studies of the dependency-alcoholism link indicate that the onset of alcoholism is followed by in- creases in dependent thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. However, there is no evidence that dependency actu- ally places individuals at risk for alcohol abuse or de- pendence. Similar findings have emerged in studies of depen- dency and other types of substance use disorders. Re- searchers have examined possible links between dependency and risk of opiate, cocaine, barbiturate, marijuana, and poly-drug abuse.

The results of these studies have been relatively clear-cut: Dependent in- dividuals do not show elevated risk for these substance use disorders, although–consistent with earlier find- ings regarding the dependency-alcoholism link– research confirms that the onset of an addictive disor- der is often associated with elevations in dependent feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.

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