Study examines ties between alcohol and PTSD

Alcohol abuse occurs in 52% of men and 28% of women with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Comorbid alcoholism and PTSD leads more frequently to low income, unemployment, and overall social dysfunction than either condition on its own, in part due to the clinical challenges their simultaneous treatment poses. Researchers at North Dakota State University set out to examine relationships between the factors contributing to these challenges. Their findings are available in the Journal of Dual Diagnosis from Routledge, a Member of Taylor & Francis Group.

A sample of 313 college-aged participants completed The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), The Multidimensional Experiential Avoidance Questionnaire (MEAQ), The PTSD Checklist Plus–Civilian version (PCL-C), and The Drinking Motives Questionnaire. Results were divided into two groups for analysis, depending on the severity of PTSD symptoms in the respondent. A multi-group path model examined associations between experiential avoidance, drinking motives, use, and alcohol problems across these two groups.

Researchers found that respondents with more severe PTSD symptoms showed a higher degree of association between problem drinking and a need to regulate negative affect ("coping motives"). Additionally, associations between negative attitudes toward distress and alcohol-related consequences were stronger among the more severe PTSD sufferers. Thus, for individuals with severe PTSD, practicing the ability to carry out uncomfortable activities may be associated with a decreased likelihood of comorbid alcohol use disorder. The less severe PTSD symptom group was associated significantly with drinking to avoid stressful situations, running counter to the researchers' hypothesis in this area. Overall, these findings point towards the need for PTSD treatment that takes into account the relationship between co-occurring symptoms and varying degrees of alcohol involvement.

More information: "Problematic Alcohol Use, Trauma History, and PTSD Symptom Level: A Path Analysis." Robert D. Dvorak, Ashley M. Arens, Nicholas J. Kuvaas, Thomas J. Williams, Tess M. Kilwein
Journal of Dual Diagnosis, Vol. 9, Iss. 4, 2013. DOI: 10.1080/15504263.2013.835694

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

College drinking may aggravate PTSD symptoms

Jan 31, 2014

(HealthDay)—College students with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are likely to drink more alcohol than other students, potentially worsening their symptoms and leading them to drink even more, new ...

Recommended for you

Suicide risk falls substantially after talk therapy

3 hours ago

Repeat suicide attempts and deaths by suicide were roughly 25 percent lower among a group of Danish people who underwent voluntary short-term psychosocial counseling after a suicide attempt, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School ...

Brains transform remote threats into anxiety

Nov 21, 2014

Modern life can feel defined by low-level anxiety swirling through society. Continual reports about terrorism and war. A struggle to stay on top of family finances and hold onto jobs. An onslaught of news ...

Mental disorders due to permanent stress

Nov 21, 2014

Activated through permanent stress, immune cells will have a damaging effect on and cause changes to the brain. This may result in mental disorders. The effects of permanent stress on the immune system are studied by the ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.