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11.01.2017 | Original Article | Ausgabe 5/2017

International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction 5/2017

Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to Assess Identity Formation Among Users of Synthetic Cannabinoids

Zeitschrift:
International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction > Ausgabe 5/2017
Autoren:
Szilvia Kassai, Judit Nóra Pintér, József Rácz, Dalma Erdősi, Réka Milibák, V. Anna Gyarmathy

Abstract

Identity work and the perception and transformation of the addicted self are the most important processes during recovery from psychoactive substance addiction. While synthetic cannabinoids (SCs) have become increasingly popular among drug users in recent years, little is known about how the users of SCs perceive their identities. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six male former SC users, and the transcribed interviews were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Two master themes were identified: 1. The impact of SC use experience on self and identity formation, and 2. The transformed self and the user self. SCs users have difficulties organizing their experiences into definite meaning structures and constructing collective meanings. Their experiences are similar to traumatic experience; therefore, SC use may be treated as a particular type of trauma. As a result, the resources of SC users to change their self and construct a new non-addict identity are limited, which may mean a significant obstacle in recovery. Hence, treatment should focus on identity work more emphatically.

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