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Clin Psychol Rev. 2012 Apr;32(3):202-14. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2012.01.004. Epub 2012 Feb 10.

Psychological treatments for concurrent posttraumatic stress disorder and substance use disorder: a systematic review.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


This article gives an overview of research into psychological treatments for concurrent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance used disorder (SUD), with a special focus on the effectiveness of treatments addressing both disorders compared to treatments addressing one of the disorders alone. In addition, a distinction is made between trauma-focused versus non-trauma-focused therapies for concurrent PTSD and SUD. The databases Embase, Psychinfo, Medline and Web of science were searched for relevant articles. In total, seventeen studies were identified evaluating ten treatments protocols (six trauma-focused and four non-trauma-focused treatment approaches). In general, the studies showed pre-post reductions for PTSD and/or SUD symptoms. Although most treatments for concurrent PTSD and SUD did not prove to be superior to regular SUD treatments, there are some promising preliminary results suggesting that some patients might benefit from trauma-focused interventions. However, the lack of methodologically sound treatment trials makes it difficult to draw firm conclusions. Methodological limitations are discussed, along with recommendations for future research.

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