Treating PTSD in Pregnant and Postpartum Rural Women With Substance Use Disorders

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Abstract

The co-occurrence of posttraumatic stress disorder and substance use disorder (PTSD-SUD) can pose significant problems for rural pregnant and postpartum women (PPW) and the well-being of their children. Although effective treatments exist, PPW experience limitations in their ability to access and engage in treatment, which may be compounded by various aspects of rural settings, so providers must be attentive to these barriers in order to address this pressing public health need. In addition, as part of increasing rural access to care, it is important to consider the costs and benefits to PPW of selecting exposure-based techniques (e.g., prolonged exposure) to disseminate. The current article discusses the treatment of PTSD-SUD in rural PPW in the context of the authors’ experiences providing an exposure-based cognitive–behavioral treatment for PTSD in this population. Barriers to treatment access and engagement are discussed and recommendations are provided.

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