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J Trauma Stress. 2015 Dec;28(6):585-9. doi: 10.1002/jts.22052. Epub 2015 Nov 4.

Prescription Stimulants and PTSD Among U.S. Military Service Members.

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Deployment Health Research Department, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, California, USA.
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
Occupational Medicine Department, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, Camp Pendleton, California, USA.
Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a prevalent condition among military service members and civilians who have experienced traumatic events. Stimulant use has been postulated to increase the risk of incident PTSD; however, research in this area is lacking. In this study, the association between receipt of prescription stimulants and PTSD was examined in a secondary analysis among active duty U.S. military members (n = 25,971), participating in the Millennium Cohort Study, who completed a baseline (2001-2003) and two follow-up surveys (between 2004-2008). Prescription stimulant data were obtained from the military Pharmacy Data Transaction Service. PTSD was assessed using the PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version and incident PTSD was defined as meeting the criteria at follow-up among those who did not have a history of PTSD at baseline. Overall, 1,215 (4.7%) persons developed new-onset PTSD during follow-up. Receipt of prescription stimulants were significantly associated with incident PTSD, hazard ratio = 5.09, 95% confidence interval [3.05, 8.50], after adjusting for sociodemographic factors, military characteristics, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, baseline mental and physical health status, deployment experiences, and physical/sexual trauma. Findings suggested that prescription stimulants are associated with incident PTSD among military personnel; these data may inform the underlying pathogenesis of and preventive strategies for PTSD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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