Psychological Characteristics of Continuing Addicts and Recovering Addicts

Author: Anum Tanveer 

Supervisor: Dr. Naumana Amjad

Degree:  Msc

Year: (2010-2012)

University: Institute of Applied Psychology, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan


The present research is a qualitative exploration to identify the psychological characteristics of continuing substance abusers and recovering substance abusers, so that thorough and in-depth information can be analyzed as to what factors are responsible for the maintenance and abstinence for the two categories respectively. By recognizing the themes and rudiments responsible behind drug addiction, we can design effective therapeutic measures and create awareness. The present research is based on detailed individual semi-structured interviews using open ended questions. The selection of the sample was based on the convenient sampling strategy. Ten continuing addicts were interviewed from the slums in the outskirts of Lahore and ten recovering addicts were taken from Narcotics Anonymous, Lahore. Coding techniques were used for the content analysis that included Word Repetition, the Compare and Contrast Technique and Key Word in Context Technique (KWIC). The results depicted obvious differences present between the two categories evident through their verbatim. The continuing addicts have a poor self-concept, low moral values, less spirituality, poor insight about the problem, denial, self pity as compared to the recovering addicts. According to them, there was an initial push that propelled them in the direction of treatment. The results also highlighted the agents that may maintain the recovery of the recovering addicts and also prevent the relapse. The implication of the study is to focus our attention to the psychological aspects rather than the biological aspects of the drug addiction, so that it can be treated in an effective way.

Keywords: drug addiction, self-concept, moral values, insight, spirituality.

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Corresponding Address: Department of Applied Psychology, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan. Email:, Phone: 92-42-9231245

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