Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Integrating Treatment for PTSD and Substance Dependence Brings Positive Outcomes

Integrating treatments for comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance dependence resulted in reduced PTSD symptom severity than did substance dependence treatment alone, according to Australian researchers. They randomized 103 patients to receive either prolonged exposure therapy, a proven treatment for PTSD, plus usual treatment for substance dependence or usual treatment alone, wrote Katherine Mills, Ph.D., of the University of New South Wales and colleagues in the August 15 Journal of the American Medical Association.

After nine months of treatment (covering 13 90-minute sessions), symptom severity was lowered in both groups. "However, the treatment group demonstrated a significantly greater reduction in PTSD symptom severity,” wrote the authors. There was no significant difference in severity of substance dependence or changes in substance use, depression, or anxiety. “The complex trauma, substance use, and psychiatric presentations commonly found among individuals with PTSD and substance dependence should not be a deterrent to providing trauma-focused treatment,” the researchers pointed out.

To read more about treatment of patients with comorbid PTSD and substance use, see Psychiatric News here and the American Journal of Psychiatry here.

(Image: Donna Cuic/


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