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Researchers knew that there was a connection between post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance-use disorder (SUD). Also, researchers already knew that a patient with PTSD is at risk for developing a SUD–in particular drug dependence.

What researchers were uncertain of is if PTSD patients were more likely to be at a greater risk for SUD than another form of abuse, such as alcohol. It was already known that war veterans who suffer from PTSD frequently also fall victim to drug abuse. In fact one-third to one-half of SUD patients also have PTSD.

Martin Driessen, professor of psychiatry, Ev. Hospital Bielefeld, Germany, and colleagues, interviewed 459 participants (274 males, 185 females) who had sought addiction treatment. Of those 459 subjects:

  • 40% had alcohol dependence,
  • 33% had drug dependence,
  • 27% had both alcohol and drug dependence.

Researchers found the drug dependent subjects were twice as likely to also suffer from PTSD (30%) as subjects who were alcohol dependent (15%). Researchers suspected that there was going to be a higher correlation between drug dependence and PTSD, but they were surprised the precentage was so high (30%).

Sadly, PTSD was also associated with a worse outcome for a SUD patient. Typically, they had more family problems, less employment, and suffered more severe psychological symptoms. They also had a higher hospitalization rate, shorter periods of abstinence, and a higher drug craving. What the study was unable to determine was if whether PTSD was a cause or consequence of drug dependence.

The researchers suggest that clinicians examine patients with SUD to determine if PTSD is an underlying factor.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Jim Moore April 27, 2008, 2:20 am

    PTSD and traumatic brain injuries will I believe have far greater long time consequences for our nation than any other single problem. And as the number of veterans with serious adjustment problems as a result of these injuries becomes larger, the government will back off further and further from offering them proper care. Already I heard on tv (not verified) that the VA is treating many symptoms of PTSD as disciplinary problems. I did a blog where I argue that the support the troops efforts may be contributing to PTSD development.
    http://sezme.net/page66.html

    Jim

  • soniya June 6, 2008, 3:09 am

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  • Jim January 6, 2018, 9:55 am

    I have a ex-friend I knew for 50 years. He has been a chain smoker and a drinker and a street drug user since he was 12 years old. He dropped out of high school, past his GED test and joined the Navy in the early 80’s where he was stationed on a ship for 4 years where he continued his ways. He boasts about how he would get these great deals on weed and hash and sell them.

    After 4 years of non-combat duty, He got out of the Navy and continued his partying chain smoking ways while upgrading to Crack, He then proceeded to get multiple DWI’s. losing jobs like delivery, His main job was a dishwasher. He told me the best he ever did was making $8.50/hr. His brother then died to exposure to asbestos while in the Navy so my friend got a settlement for his brothers death even though they never really got a long. He then laundered the money by putting it into his sisters bank account and decided to claim his back was too injured to work.

    What a blessing that money was that it enabled him to live a descent life while he pretended to prove he was disabled. Amazing how much food he had in his fridge, while he stayed home smoking and drinking and occasionally working off the books. I found it strange how he never talked about his back pain and had no problem bowling. Then 30 years after being out of the Navy. he heard about PTSD and decided to put in a claim. WOW 30 YEARS LATER BECAUSE SOME GUY WHO HE NEVER KNEW GOT SWIPED OFF HIS SHIP BY A CABLE This guy never mentioned it to me or showed any symptoms of PTSD (He drank and abused drug and alcohol before, during and after he served in the Navy) He liked going to concerts and bowling and never showed any signs of sadness.

    NOW HE IS COLLECTING 100% PSTD DISABILITY AND 100% DISABILITY FROM SSI FOR HIS BACK. WOW 200% DISABLED. Remember the most he ever made was $8.50/hr. He received a retro benefit check from the VA so he bought a house. I lived with him 1 1/2 He told me he was taking home clear over $50,00/year so it was like he is making $75.000/year with free medical. NOW HE STAYS HOME AND SMOKES AND DRINKS ALL DAY. BUT SOME HOW THIS 200% DISABLED PERSON IS ABLE TO GARDEN AND DO MAJOR RENOVATIONS ON HIS PROPERTY AND MAKE EXTRAVAGANT MEALS. IT IS SUCH A JOKE. HE WOULD WAKE UP SO HAPPY AND SAY SOME STUPID WORDS A FEW TIMES TO PUT ON HIS SHOW, THEN GO OFF TO STARBUCKS TO GET COFFEE WITH HIS BROTHER, HE ONLY STARTED SAYING THOSE STUPID WORDS AFTER HE PUT IN HIS PTSD CLAIM.

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