Abstract Identity disturbances in a heterogeneous group of drug addicts ( n = 30) were studied. Hirvas' scale of identity, which is based on Erikson's epigenetic theory of personality development was used. An equal number of normal individuals formed the control group. The identity confusion was studied in three dimensions: intrapersonal, interpersonal, and capacity for objective self-appraisal. Among the addicts a significantly high degree of identity disturbances was found in these three dimensions regarding areas of time perspective, sexual identity, leadership polarisation and ideological polarisation. The possible interrelationship between these disturbances and addictive behaviour is discussed.