Substance Misuse

Our research involving substance misuse investigates the biological and psychological characteristics of heroin users using heart rate variability (HRV) and the tridimensional personality questionnaire (TPQ). Our results show those with heroin misuse in Taiwan have borderline personality tendencies – low interpersonal dependence and high impulsivity. Those with heroin misuse also have reduced parasympathetic tone, a cardiovascular protective factor. We have also found that those with higher borderline personality traits have higher sympathetic tones and reduced parasympathetic activity. HRV can be used to measure adherence to methadone treatment, and to provide a marker as a risk factor for future cardiovascular illness in heroin users.


1. Development of an addiction index and delineation 15-year trends of illicit drugs from the Taiwan national drug enhancement database.

Lin C, Wong BY, Lo MT, Chiu YC, Lin YH.

J Psychiatr Res. 2020 Jan;120:131-136. Epub 2019 Oct 21.

2. Features of the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire Associated with Heroin Users.

Wu CY, Huang WL, Lin YH, Yang CCH.
Neuropathology of Drug Addictions and Substance Misuse. 2016;1:1061-70.

3. Cardiac autonomic modulation during methadone therapy among heroin users: a pilot study.

Chang LR, Lin YH, Kuo TB, Ho YC, Chen SH, Wu Chang HC, Liu CM, Yang CC.
Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. 2012 Apr 27;37(1):188-93.

4. The tridimensional personality of male heroin users treated with methadone in Taiwan.

Huang WL, Chang LR, Chen YZ, Chang HC, Hsieh MH, Lin CH, Lin YH.
Comprehensive psychiatry. 2014 Jul;55(5):1220-6.

5. Methadone-mediated autonomic functioning of male patients with heroin dependence: the influence of borderline personality pattern.

Huang WL, Lin YH, Kuo TB, Chang LR, Chen YZ, Yang CC.

PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e37464.

6. Self-reported psychopathology and health-related quality of life in heroin users treated with methadone.

Chen YZ, Huang WL, Shan JC, Lin YH, Chang HC, Chang LR.
Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment. 2013;9:41-8.
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