Substance Use Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Comorbidity: Addiction and Psychiatric Treatment Rates

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This study compares substance use disorder (SUD) patients with and without a comorbid diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on their use of addiction and psychiatric services over the 6-month period before an inpatient substance abuse admission. Compared with non-PTSD patients, PTSD patients had a greater number of hospital overnights for addiction treatment. Given no significant between-groups differences on any substance use indexes, PTSD patients apparently overuse costly inpatient addiction services. Despite their greater rates of psychiatric comorbidity, PTSD patients did not receive treatment for psychiatric problems at greater rates than did non-PTSD patients. Among PTSD patients, use of PTSD treatment was low. Assessment of psychiatric comorbidity and referral to treatment targeting co-occurring PTSD and other disorders are suggested as possible ways to reduce the high treatment costs associated with SUD-PTSD comorbidity.

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