PTSD and Addiction
Post traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse often go hand in hand. Therapists working with PTSD patients will often discover/uncover that the patient also suffers from the disease of addiction, symptoms from both presenting and co-occurring. This week a new study has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which reports that combining treatment for both PTSD and substance abuse, improved the PTSD symptoms while not exacerbating the substance abuse symptoms.
This study “Integrated Exposure-Based Therapy for Co-occurring Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Dependence” examines the use of prolonged exposure (PE) therapy. This study was conducted by researchers at the University of New South Wales. The trial study included 103 participants. Each participant had been diagnosed with both PTSD and substance abuse. They were selected randomly to receive either a combination of PE and substance abuse treatment (COPE) or substance abuse treatment only. Treatment was provided for nine months.
According to the CNN report: “At the nine-month mark, while both groups experienced reductions in PTSD symptoms, the subjects in the combined treatment group also showed a reduction in the severity of their PTSD symptoms without any increase in the severity of their substance abuse.”
We offer our readers the related articles. The powerful outcome of any research is that it serves to engage treatment professionals in continuing education, always asking, always searching for new ways to approach treatment and recovery.