Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Abuse Relapse Among Women: A Pilot Study

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The authors compared substance-dependent women with and without a comorbid diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on their alcohol and drug use after inpatient substance abuse treatment. Participants were 31 women with a diagnosed substance dependence disorder. Forty-two percent of the entire sample (n = 13) met DSM–III–R criteria for current PTSD. Follow-up interviews revealed that approximately 70% of the women relapsed during the 3 months posttreatment. Although rates of relapse did not significantly differ by PTSD status, PTSD women were found to relapse more quickly than non-PTSD women. Although preliminary, study findings suggest that the presence of PTSD among substance-dependent women may have prognostic significance as well as important treatment implications.

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