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Archives of Clinical Psychiatry (São Paulo)

Print version ISSN 0101-6083On-line version ISSN 1806-938X


DANTAS, Heloisa de Souza  and  ANDRADE, Arthur Guerra de. Comorbidity of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with alcohol and drug abuse and dependency: a literature review. Rev. psiquiatr. clín. [online]. 2008, vol.35, suppl.1, pp.55-60. ISSN 0101-6083.

BACKGROUND: The literature reveals high comorbidity rates between post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse and dependence (SAD). OBJECTIVES: This paper seeks to describe the relationship between the two disorders; the gender differences; and the primary treatments used to reduce PTSD as well as SAD symptoms. METHODS: A review of the literature between 1995 and 2007. A PubMed search was used to find articles with the key words: "trauma" AND "alcohol", "trauma" AND "substance abuse", "trauma" AND "dependence", "trauma" AND "drugs", "post traumatic stress" AND "alcohol", post traumatic stress" AND "substance abuse", "post traumatic stress" AND "dependence", "post traumatic stress" AND "drugs". RESULTS: The following hypotheses were identified: 1) Substance abuse increases the risk of PTSD occurrence due to life styles that expose the individual to traumas and due to the fact that alcohol and drugs can increase the consequences of the traumatic event; 2) Alcohol and drugs are sometimes used by PTSD patients with the intent to relieve symptoms of their disorder, which in turn may lead to eventual abuse. CONCLUSIONS: The early identification of comorbidity between PTSD and SAD is essential for a good prognosis for the patient. It is also important to help minimize the chances of PDST in victims of the traumatic events.

Keywords : Post traumatic stress disorder; drug and alcohol abuse and dependence; comorbidity; gender; treatment.

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