August 7, 2013

Treatment of Comorbid Substance Dependence and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Author Affiliations
  • 1National Health and Medical Research Council Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

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JAMA. 2013;310(5):482-483. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.8269

Approximately 11 million US adults have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD),1 and approximately one-third of these individuals also have alcohol dependence,2 a substance use disorder. Compared with individuals with either disorder alone, people with co-occurring PTSD and substance use disorder have worse physical and mental health, poorer treatment outcomes, and a more long-term course of illness. Furthermore, both disorders have been shown to maintain and exacerbate each other.3,4 It is therefore not surprising that clinicians consider patients with these 2 conditions to be particularly difficult to treat.5

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