Study Document

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Alcoholism Addiction Term Paper

Pages:15 (4543 words)


Subject:Social Issues

Topic:Behavioral Disorder

Document Type:Term Paper


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Alcoholism/Addiction


Alcoholism and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Overview

PTSD and Co morbidity of Alcoholism: The Role of Trauma

Childhood Abuse and Gender Differences in PTSD

Association Between Alcoholism and Emotion

Genetic and Environmental Influences

Models of Assessment/Conclusions

Abstract TC "Abstract" f C l "1"

This study will examine the relationship between post traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism/addiction. The author proposes a quantitative correlation analysis of the relationship between PTSD and alcoholism be conducted to identify the influence of trauma on subsequent alcohol abuse in patients varying in age from 13-70.

A survey of the literature available on PTSD and alcohol/substance abuse on patients is conducted leading to a conclusion that a direct relationship does exist between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Alcoholism/Addiction. This conclusion coincides with a large body of evidence and prior studies which link the prevalence of traumatic disorders with alcohol and substance abuse as well as relapse from treatment programs.

Narrative TC "Narrative" f C l "1"

Introduction TC "Introduction" f C l "2"

The purpose of this study is an examination of the relationship between post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcoholism/addiction, in an effort to determine whether a correlation exists between PTSD and alcoholism.

There is a large body of evidence that suggests that alcohol abuse is common in patients diagnosed with PTSD (Thornton, 2003; Weinstein, 1999; Jaycox, et. al, 2004). Much of the research that has been conducted in the past has focused on the co morbidity of traumatic disorders, other psychological disorders and the presence of alcohol abuse or other substance abuse problems in patients seeking treatment for alcohol abuse.

This study is important because it will link past research and data in order to develop a scientifically grounded explanation for the co-existence of such disorders further clarifying the body of research conducted thus far. A majority of the evidence available on PTSD and addiction related disorders are qualitatively based. The intent of this research is to find empirically-based relationships to demonstrate a statistical link between PTSD and addiction, thus the study will be quantitatively based.

The researcher will examine the historical literature available with regard to PTSD and alcoholism/addiction in order to derive a hypothesis grounded in theory and backed by scientific data. Based on the preliminary results of the literature review, the researcher proposes the following:

Hypothesis A: A direct correlation between post traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism/addiction exists.

Null Hypothesis: A direct correlation between post traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism/addiction does not exist.

The proposed hypothesis are grounded in a large body of evidence which suggests a direct link between alcoholism and other addictive behaviors and the occurrence of traumatic experiences in youth and/or adulthood (Thornton, 2003; ISST, 2003; Weinstein, 1999; Jaycox, Ebener, Damesex & Becker, 2004).

The author proposes that a correlation does exist between alcoholism/addiction and post traumatic stress disorder. To confirm this hypothesis, the author proposes an in depth examination of the historical literature and case studies available on post traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism/addiction. Specifically the author will attempt to determine if a relationship exists between the two, and if so what the extent of that relationship is.

This research will help confirm the relationship that may exist between PTSD and substance abuse, and hopefully help researchers and medical authorities develop more directed treatment programs that acknowledge the relationship (if any) that exists between alcohol or chemical dependency and PTSD.

Background to the Problem TC "Background to the Problem" f C l "2"

Studies suggest that the use of alcohol or other drugs may provide patients dealing with trauma with a temporary distraction and relief from the thoughts, feelings and negative emotions associated with the event (ISTSS, 2003) and that substance abuse is generally chronic because the relief provided is only temporary in nature. Further there is evidence to suggest that alcohol abuse may be utilized as a means of self-medication against traumatic memories and experiences (ISTSS, 2003; Thornton, 2003).

Given this information it is critical to examine whether or not a specific relationship exists between substance abuse and PTSD in order to identify treatment methods that are most likely to benefit patients demonstrating co morbid existence of PTSD and substance abuse problems.

Statement of the Problem TC "Statement of the Problem" f C l "2"

The aim of this study is to assess whether or not a correlation exists between alcohol/substance abuse and PTSD. Studies suggest that patients with PTSD are diagnosed with lifetime alcoholism at a rate of 2-3 times that of the typical population, and that patients seeking treatment for alcoholism are 3 times more likely to demonstrate symptoms of PTSD (Thornton, 2003; Kessler, Sonnega, Bromet, Hughes & Nelson, 1995).

Research also suggests a strong link exists between exposure to trauma and substance abuse problems (ISTSS, 2003). Trauma related disorders including PTSD are found to occur more frequently in people with substance abuse disorders such as alcohol abuse (ISTSS, 2003).

Gender links have also been associated with PTSD and alcoholism with some studies confirming that women are five times more likely to have a dual diagnosis of alcoholism and PTSD (Thornton, 2003; Kofoed, Friedman & Peck, 1993).

More than 50% of adults with alcohol abuse problems are PTSD are also thought to have other serious behavioral or psychological problems including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, disruptive behavioral disorders and other addictive behaviors (ISTSS, 2003).

Methods TC "Methods" f C l "2"

A comprehensive literature review will be compiled examining the nature of PTSD and substance abuse problems. Specifically the research will first broadly examine PTSD with regard to alcoholism. The researcher will then examine the association between PTSD and the co morbidity of alcoholism by investigating the role of trauma, next examine childhood influences and gender differentiation in patients with a dual diagnosis, then attempt to identify whether a relationship exists between PTSD, alcohol abuse and emotions/emotional disturbances and finally examine whether genetic factors and environmental factors influence the relationship between alcohol abuse and PTSD in patients.

There is a large body of evidence which suggests that a quantitative approach to behavioral analysis and PTSD is appropriate (McKeehan & Martin, 2002; Weinstein, 1999). A majority of the studies that have been conducted related to PTSD and substance abuse are qualitatively based (Jaycox, Ebener, Damesex & Becker, 2004; Langeland, Van Den Brink and Draijer, 2002; Brown, 2001). This study hopes to provide more empirical data related to the phenomena of alcoholism and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, thus a correlation study will be conducted.

The author proposes development of a questionnaire to be distributed to patients attending alcohol treatment programs that will asses whether or not patients have experienced some level of trauma during their life that may be directly linked to their substance abuse problems. Further the questionnaire will investigate whether patients undergoing treatment for alcohol abuse demonstrate underlying PTSD symptoms and whether patients with co morbidity of PTSD are more likely to relapse or fail to complete program than those who do not have dual diagnoses. The research proposes that anonymity be provided all participants due to the sensitive nature of the topics being discussed.

Literature Review TC "Literature Review" f C l "1"

Alcoholism and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Overview TC "Alcoholism and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Overview" f C l "2"

There are numerous studies which suggest that a link exists between substance abuse and the experience of trauma in patients young and old alike. The literature review begins with a broad analysis of the relationship that may exist between alcoholism and posttraumatic stress disorder, and continues by narrowing the focus of research to concentrate on specific areas of research including: the role of trauma in abuse and PTSD, childhood abuse and gender differentiation among patients with PTSD, the link between alcoholism and pre-existing emotional or cognitive disorders and genetic or environmental links to PTSD and alcoholism or substance abuse in patients seeking treatment for alcohol abuse.

There are a large number of studies that suggest that a relationship exists between posttraumatic stress disorder and alcoholism (Thornton, 2003; ISTSS, 2003). There are also studies which find evidence of other addictive behaviors in patients diagnosed with PTSD or similar disorders (Jaycox, et. al, 2004). Many of the studies conducted suggest that trauma is often mitigated by the effects of alcohol or substance abuse, meaning that trauma victims often relay on substances including alcohol to lessen the anxiety, stress, emotional duress and depression that trauma can bring (Langeland, Van Den Brink and Draijer, 2002; Brown, 2001).

There is evidence to also suggest that patients undergoing treatment for alcoholism are more likely to relapse if they have been victims of severe trauma or have been diagnosed with PTSD (Brown, 2001). If a direct correlation is found between alcoholism and PTSD it will be crucial for caregivers to develop treatment protocols that address the relationship between the two and find effective methods of encouraging participants to stay in treatment programs until a successful outcome is reached (Brown, 2001).

Findings of numerous studies and…

Sample Source(s) Used

References" f C l "1":

Brady, S.; Rierdan, J. Penk, W; Losardo, M; Meschede, T. (2003). "Post traumatic stress disorder in adults with serious mental illness and substance abuse." Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, 4(4): 77-90

Brown, P.J. (2001). "Outcome in female patients with both substance use and post-traumatic stress disorders." Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 18(3):127-135

Bulijan, D.; Vreek, D.; Cekic, A.A.; Karlovic, D.; Zoricic, Z; Golik-Gruber, V. (2002).

'Posttraumatic stress disorder, alcohol dependence and somatic disorders in displaced persons." Alcoholism: Journal on Alcoholism and Related Addictions, 38(1-2)35-40

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