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Indian J Psychiatry. 2002 Apr-Jun; 44(2): 150–160.
PMCID: PMC2954343



This study attempted to apply age at onset typology in ICD-10 diagnosed opioid dependence. The sample comprised 80 men seeking treatment at an addiction clinic. The measures included socio-demographic and clinical profile, Severity of Opioid Dependence Questionnaire, Modified Sensation Seeking Scale, Multiphasic Personality Questionnaire (MPQ) and Family History Assessment Module. A cut-off age of 20/21 years for an early-onset late-onset typology of opioid dependence was obtained using two methods - the modal age at onset method and one-third sample by age at onset method. The early onset group showed significant differences in terms of it being more often younger, urban, unmarried, wage earning or students, using oral opioids (not heroin or injectables), showing higher lifetime use and dependence of sedatives, earlier onset of use and dependence of sedatives and tobacco, and higher global psychopathology in terms of MPQ. The early onset group also showed statistically insignificant trends for lesser use and dependence of alcohol, higher severity of opioid dependence, more legal and less social complications, higher sensation seeking (except boredom susceptibility), and more frequent substance dependence in first degree relatives. The age at onset typology in opioid dependence appears to be feasible and having some similarities to similar typology in alcoholism.

Keywords: Opioid dependence, typology, age at onset, men

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Selected References

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