Cocaine addicted psychopaths struggle to find work, says new study

Cocaine addicted psychopaths struggle to find work, says new study

VicesDecember 07, 2016 By Reilly Capps

Staying busy at a job or in school is one key to happiness for many. But doing so is often tough for others, such as the geographically isolated and/or the undereducated. However, one group of people find the task particularly challenging: coke-addicted psychopaths.

At least, that’s according to the findings of a new study.

Through tireless efforts, researchers found that psychopaths addicted to cocaine work or study at much lower rates than the general population. And, in fact, they only work or study a fraction as much as people who are addicted to cocaine but aren't clearly psychopaths. Wait, what?

The study, published in Psychiatry Research, looked at 143 people in treatment for cocaine at a particular hospital in Barcelona, Spain. Fifteen percent of those were diagnosed as psychopaths. Surprisingly (or rather, unsurprisingly?) only 9 percent of psychopathic coke addicts were working or studying, compared to 48 percent of non-psychopaths. That's a five-fold difference. However, psychopathic coke addicts also face other hurdles in life. Fully, 72 percent had been to prison before and only 60 percent have finished high school. Eighty-two percent are men.

Technically, modern science doesn't use the word "psychopath" anymore. The term itself was dropped from the manuals of mental health; people suffering from it are now referred to by scientists as having antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). ASPD is characterized by MedicineNet as a “pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others, as well as an inability or unwillingness to conform to societal norms.” Which, even though it's called ASPD, is still pretty psychopathic.

The study uses the terms ASPD, though, and reports that science has long found cocaine dependence to be “one of the factors most strongly associated with ASPD."

Though occasional cocaine use doesn't mean you can't live a happy life: Barack Obama used cocaine in his youth. Sigmund Freud had a coke habit. Rick James had a few good years.

But repeated, chronic, addictive use of cocaine tends to correlate with life struggles. And if the coke addict is a psycho? Job offers are unlikely to come rolling in, and letters of acceptance tend not to crowd a person's mailbox.

So says science.