Academic journal article Journal of Behavioural Sciences

Emotion Recognition in Individuals with Substance Use Disorder

Academic journal article Journal of Behavioural Sciences

Emotion Recognition in Individuals with Substance Use Disorder

Article excerpt

Since the recorded history, man has continuously discovered and used substances to alter the states of consciousness (Blume, 2005). Doweiko (2002) posed that the term 'addiction' is derived from the Latin word 'addicere' means to surrender or capitulate oneself to a master.

The term addiction may be defined as the constant, repeated and greater than before use of a substance, the denial of which produce symptoms of suffering and an overwhelming urge to use that substance again and also have severe effects on physical and mental health (Kay & Tasman, 2006).

Human brain shapes our thinking, emotions and behavior (Carlson & Carlson, 2011). Substance abuse can potentially cause alterations in important areas of brain which are responsible for carrying on life-sustaining functions. Main areas of brain affected by substance abuse include: Brain stem, the limbi system andthe cerebral cortex (Volkow, 2009).

A number of cognitive problems have been observed in Individuals with SUD. They not only have difficulties in expressing emotions but also in identifying them. Facial expressionsof emotions also present a way for communicating and acquiring information about the social environment of an individual (Buck, 1980; Ekman, 1982) and provide some important cues during the exchange at interpersonal level (Custrini & Feldman, 1989). The key to any type of social interaction is based on the recognition of and responding to the emotions (Charlesworth & Kreutzer, 1973; Field & Walden, 1981).

Research has established that drugs bring changes in the structure and functioning of the human brain (Leschner, 2001; Volkow, 2009). Similarly, Verdejo-Garcia, Perez-Garcia, and Bechara (2006) suggested that lesions of orbitofrontal cortex result in an impaired decision making in human beings. Similar impairment has also been observed in individuals with SUD. Volkow (2009) suggested that the neurotransmitters as well as receptors in the brain of an individual using substance are significantly different as compared to abstainers. Also, Ma et al. (2010) found significant differences in the functioning of the network of the brain between addicts and non addicts using fMRI. Similarly, Maurage, Campanella, Philippot, Pham, and Joassin (2007) observed that chronic alcohol users had significantly deficient processing of emotions. Processing related to vision and audition is especially affected. In a longitudinal study (span of four years), Ernst et al. (2010) concluded that biasness of the adolescents towards negative emotions can be taken as a predictor of drug abuse.

The above mentioned studies indicate that substance use disorder may lead to impairment of cognitive processes. Some relevant studies in socio-cultural context of Pakistan have suggested the same for example, using FEEL Task, Malik et al. (2014) investigated the cognitive functioning related to first episode of psychosis (FEP) and Duration of untreated Psychosis (DUP) and suggested that severity of illness affects the cognitive functioning more as compared to other variables. Few other researches had also indicated emotion recognition deficits in schizophrenics with first episode (Malik, Khawar, Chaudhry, & Humphreys, 2010) and in juvenile delinquents (Malik and Ali, 2011). Also, Khawar, Malik, Maqsood, Yasmeen, and Habib (2013), using FEEL task, reported that emotion recognition ability (accuracy and response time) was significantly lower in children and old age people as compared to adolescents. Similarly the results of other studies have indicated significantly greater memory deficits in drug addicts and chronic schizophrenics when compared with normal controls (Shamama-tus-Sabah & Najam, 2007); it was also suggested that facial expressions of a person may serve as an indicator of his mental health (Jahangir & Qasmi, 2003). These findings provide foundations for the present study; therefore the rationale behind current study was based on the research evidences that drug addiction brings significant changes in human brain and impairs cognitive functioning (Volkow, 2009). …

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