The self-medication hypothesis and psychostimulant treatment of cocaine dependence: An update
Article first published online: 13 SEP 2013
Copyright © American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
The American Journal on Addictions
Volume 23, Issue 2, pages 189–193, MarchߝApril 2014
How to Cite
Mariani, J. J., Khantzian, E. J. and Levin, F. R. (2014), The self-medication hypothesis and psychostimulant treatment of cocaine dependence: An update. The American Journal on Addictions, 23: 189–193. doi: 10.1111/j.1521-0391.2013.12086.x
- Issue published online: 7 FEB 2014
- Article first published online: 13 SEP 2013
- Manuscript Received: 13 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 30 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 7 FEB 2013
- NIDA. Grant Number: K24 029647
Stimulant medications have shown promise as a treatment for cocaine dependence (CD) for several decades, yet these treatments have not been widely studied and substantial barriers to clinical implementation remain. The “Self-Medication Hypothesis,” posits that an individual's choice to use a particular substance is to some degree based on the substance's effect on subjective painful affects or unpleasant emotional states which may or may not be associated with a psychiatric disorder.
The Self-Medication Hypothesis remains relevant, particularly when considering the scenario of cocaine dependence, both with and without and co-occurring attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Two case studies (N = 2) and a review of the relevant literature are provided in this clinical update on psychostimulant treatment of cocaine dependence.
Two case studies are presented in which psychostimulant treatment of cocaine dependence was associated with a good clinical outcome.
While the use of psychostimulant medication for the treatment of cocaine dependence is controversial, emerging evidence suggests potential utility for this approach.
Cocaine use in individuals with CD may represent self-medication, and prescribed psychostimulants may have benefit in restoring dopaminergic function.
Psychostimulant treatment of cocaine dependence is consistent with the Self-Meidcation Hypothesis and is deserving of further study. (Am J Addict 2014;23:189–193)