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Character pathology and neuropsychological test performance in remitted opiate dependence



Cognitive deficits and personality pathology are prevalent in opiate dependence, even during periods of remission, and likely contribute to relapse. Understanding the relationship between the two in vulnerable, opiate-addicted patients may contribute to the design of better treatment and relapse prevention strategies.


The Millon Multiaxial Clinical Inventory (MCMI) and a series of neuropsychological tests were administered to three subject groups: 29 subjects receiving methadone maintenance treatment (MM), 27 subjects in protracted abstinence from methadone maintenance treatment (PA), and 29 healthy non-dependent comparison subjects. Relationships between MCMI scores, neuropsychological test results, and measures of substance use and treatment were examined using bivariate correlation and regression analysis.


MCMI scores were greater in subjects with a history of opiate dependence than in comparison subjects. A significant negative correlation between MCMI scores and neuropsychological test performance was identified in all subjects. MCMI scores were stronger predictors of neuropsychological test performance than measures of drug use.


Formerly methadone-treated opiate dependent individuals in protracted opiate abstinence demonstrate a strong relationship between personality pathology and cognitive deficits. The cause of these deficits is unclear and most likely multi-factorial. This finding may be important in understanding and interpreting neuropsychological testing deficiencies in opiate-dependent subjects.

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