Study examines ties between alcohol and PTSD

May 16, 2014

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.

Explore further: College drinking may aggravate PTSD symptoms

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

Related Stories

College drinking may aggravate PTSD symptoms

January 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 research suggests.

Study finds troubling relationship between drinking and PTSD symptoms in college students

January 14, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—The estimated 9 percent of college students who have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are likely to drink more alcohol than peers without the psychological condition. In turn, heavy alcohol ...

Experiential avoidance increases PTSD risk following child maltreatment

March 5, 2014
Child abuse is a reliable predictor of post-traumatic stress disorder, but not all maltreated children suffer from it, according to Chad Shenk, assistant professor of human development and family studies, Penn State, who ...

Treating PTSD and alcohol abuse together doesn't increase drinking, study finds

August 6, 2013
Contrary to past concerns, using prolonged exposure therapy to treat patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and comorbid alcohol dependence does not increase drinking or cravings, Penn Medicine psychiatrists ...

Maternal posttraumatic stress disorder associated with increased risk for child maltreatment

September 2, 2013
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in mothers appears to be associated with an increased risk for child maltreatment beyond that associated with maternal depression, according to a study published by JAMA Pediatrics.

Can virtual reality-based therapy help veterans overcome posttraumatic stress disorder?

March 25, 2014
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common among military veterans and together with the often-related anxiety, depression, and psychological and emotional impairment can dramatically affect quality of life. A type of ...

Recommended for you

Talking to yourself can help you control stressful emotions

July 26, 2017
The simple act of silently talking to yourself in the third person during stressful times may help you control emotions without any additional mental effort than what you would use for first-person self-talk – the way people ...

Heart rate study tests emotional impact of Shakespeare

July 26, 2017
In a world where on-screen violence has become commonplace, Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company is turning to science to discover whether the playwright can still make our hearts race more than 400 years on.

Do all people experience similar near-death-experiences?

July 26, 2017
No one really knows what happens when we die, but many people have stories to tell about what they experienced while being close to death. People who have had a near-death-experience usually report very rich and detailed ...

Risk for bipolar disorder associated with faster aging

July 26, 2017
New King's College London research suggests that people with a family history of bipolar disorder may 'age' more rapidly than those without a history of the disease.

Visual clues we use during walking and when we use them

July 25, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A trio of researchers with the University of Texas and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has discovered which phase of visual information processing during human walking is used most to guide the feet accurately. ...

Toddlers begin learning rules of reading, writing at very early age, study finds

July 25, 2017
Even the proudest of parents may struggle to find some semblance of meaning behind the seemingly random mish-mash of letters that often emerge from a toddler's first scribbled and scrawled attempts at putting words on paper.

0 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.