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Helplessness and the Need to Withdraw From Drugs

The Beginning of the Path to Recovery

Shamsalinia, Abbas PhD*; Ghaffari, Fatemeh PhD; Khayeri, Fereydoon MSc; Masoudi, Reza PhD§

Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment: June 2018 - Volume 17 - Issue 2 - p 76–85
doi: 10.1097/ADT.0000000000000122
Original Articles

Objectives: The decision to quit drug use is a prerequisite for recovery and depends on various factors. Identifying each of the factors that affect attempts to quit drug use helps public education planners develop and implement evidence-based programs aimed at reducing drug use and preventing relapse. The present study sought to explain drug abusers’ experiences of the decision to quit drug use.

Methods: The present qualitative content analysis was conducted on a population of female drug abusers presenting to addiction treatment centers in west Mazandaran, Iran, in 2016. Purposive sampling was used to collect data through individual face-to-face interviews with 20 subjects. The interview guide was used as a research tool and the interviews were continued until data saturation was reached. Conventional content analysis was used to analyze the data. The interview data were analyzed using the method proposed by Lundman and Graneheim. The 4 criteria proposed by Lincoln and Guba were also used to confirm the trustworthiness of the data.

Results: Four main categories emerged in this study, namely, “getting tired of the present conditions,” “Perceived threat of changing the present conditions,” “hitting rock bottom,” and “actively seeking information to find a loophole or solution.”

Conclusions: Community support, reducing the social stigma of addiction, building addiction treatment centers for women, informing drug abusers and their families about available health centers, and encouraging drug addicts’ families to participate in Nar-Anon meetings improves their enduring commitment to long-term and unwavering support for the patient through the course of cessation.

*School of Nursing and Midwifery

Nursing Care Research Center, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Ramsar, Mazandaran

Nursing and Midwifery, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran

§Community-Oriented Nursing Midwifery Research Center, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Fatemeh Ghaffari, PhD, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Ramsar Nursing Care Research Center, Babol, Mazandaran 4691714141, Iran. (e-mail:

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