Drug addiction and choice of drugs: Temperament and personality as risk factors

Svrakic Dragan, C. R. Cloninger, Svrakic Nenad, Lazic Boro, Milivojevic Dragan, Nastasic Petar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Aims: We sought to evaluate the risk factors and personality traits associated with specific drug use and drug addiction in general. Design: We compared the temperament and character traits of people addicted to opiates or alcohol to healthy controls. Participants: In total, 412 consecutive patients (312 people addicted opiates; 100 to alcohol) treated at the Specialised Clinic for Chemical Dependency in Belgrade, Serbia and a community sample of 346 healthy controls participated in this study. Measurements: We employed the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) and the DSM-IV criteria for opiate addiction and alcoholism. Findings: Participants addicted to opiates manifested "antisocial" temperaments (i.e., high novelty seeking and low reward dependence), whereas participants addicted to alcohol had "sensitive" temperaments (i.e., high novelty seeking, high harm avoidance). We observed immature personalities and personality disorders far more frequently in people addicted to opiates than those addicted to alcohol or healthy participants. Conclusions: Novelty seeking appears to be a risk factor for drug addiction. High harm avoidance may direct high novelty seeking people toward alcoholism. Personality disorders increase the risk of illegal drug use. Personality factors may provide useful indicators for drug addiction preventive work with young people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-98
Number of pages6
JournalSerbian Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010


  • Character
  • Drug addiction
  • Temperament


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