The Burden of Co-Occurring Alcohol Use Disorder and PTSD in U.S. Military Veterans: Comorbidities, Functioning, and Suicidality


    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are among the most prevalent disorders in U.S. military veterans and often co-occur. To date, most studies have focused on treatment-seeking samples, although many veterans with AUD/PTSD do not seek treatment. We evaluated the prevalence of psychiatric comorbidities, functioning, and quality of life in a nationally representative sample of U.S. veterans (using data from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study) with AUD alone, PTSD alone, and comorbid AUD/PTSD to understand the incremental burden of having both disorders relative to either one. Among those with probable AUD, 20.3% met criteria for probable PTSD. Among those, with probable PTSD, 16.8% met criteria for probable AUD. Compared to veterans with AUD only, veterans with AUD/PTSD were more likely to screen positive for major depression (36.8% vs. 2.3%), generalized anxiety disorder (43.5% vs. 2.9%), suicidal ideation (39.1% vs. 7.0%); to have attempted suicide (46.0% vs. 4.1%); and to be receiving mental health treatment (44.8% vs. 7.5%). They also scored lower on cognitive (d = 0.50), mental (d = 0.51) and physical (d = 0.21) functioning, and quality of life (Cohen d = 0.46). Veterans with comorbid AUD/PTSD were more than three times as likely as veterans with PTSD only to have attempted suicide in their lifetimes (odds ratio = 3.1, 95% confidence interval = 1.8–5.3; 46.0% vs. 22.8%); they did not differ on other measures. Results underscore the burden of co-occurring AUD and PTSD in U.S. veterans, and the importance of engaging these veterans in treatment.

    loading  Loading Related Articles