A Clinical Profile of Women With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Dependence


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Abstract

To assess the clinical characteristics of women with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance dependence, 28 women with both disorders were compared with 29 women with PTSD alone on a wide battery of lifetime and current clinical measures. The dual-diagnosis women consistently had a more severe clinical profile, including worse life conditions (e.g., physical appearance, opportunities in life), both as children and as adults; greater criminal behavior; a higher number of lifetime suicide attempts; a greater number having a sibling with a drug problem; and fewer outpatient psychiatric treatments. One discrepant finding, however, was their lower rate of major depression. Interestingly, the 2 groups did not differ in number or type of lifetime traumas, PTSD onset or severity, family history of substance use; coping style, functioning level, psychiatric symptoms, or sociodemographic characteristics. Treatment implications and methodological limitations are discussed.

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