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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2011 Sep;41(2):186-92. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2011.02.012. Epub 2011 May 5.

Baseline functioning among individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder and alcohol dependence.

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University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Centers for Studies of Addiction, Philadelphia, USA.


Comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol dependence (AD) may lead to a complicated and potentially severe treatment profile. Our study examined 167 individuals with both PTSD and AD compared with 105 individuals with PTSD without an alcohol use disorder (AUD) and 240 individuals with AD without PTSD on baseline psychosocial functioning. We hypothesized that individuals with PTSD/AD would be more socially and functionally impaired than individuals with only one disorder. Results indicated that participants with PTSD/AD were more likely to be unemployed, have less education, and report less income and were less likely to live with a partner than the participants with only a single disorder. However, they did not differ on symptom severity within these disorders (drinking frequency/quantity, PTSD, and anxiety symptoms) with the exception of depression and alcohol craving. This contradicts clinical lore that comorbid patients are more impaired at treatment initiation and adds support for concurrent treatment as not only feasible but also possibly ideal for these patients.

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