Post-traumatic stress disorder and illicit drug use in veterans presenting to primary care with alcohol misuse

Michael A. Cucciare*, Kenneth R. Weingardt, Dellanira Valencia-Garcia, Sharfun Ghaus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Alcohol misuse and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are highly prevalent among veterans presenting to primary care. PTSD is associated with depression and increased substance use which can complicate the treatment of alcohol misuse. No studies have examined severity of depressive symptoms, rates and type of illicit drug use, and alcohol use severity in veterans with PTSD and alcohol misuse in primary care. Therefore, we examined (a) rates of PTSD and associated mental health comorbidities (depression, suicidal ideation), (b) current and lifetime illicit drug use and (c) alcohol use severity in relation to PTSD status in a sample of veterans presenting to primary care with alcohol misuse. We also tested the hypothesis that greater depressive symptoms, illicit drug use and alcohol use severity would be independently associated with greater likelihood of PTSD, after controlling for age and ethnicity. Veterans (N=166) were recruited from primary care as part of an intervention study between the years 2010 and 2011. Veterans participating in the study completed an in-person semi-structured interview with study staff. Using the post-traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Military version, we found a 16.3% rate of PTSD. PTSD was associated with greater depressive symptoms, rates of suicidal ideation, alcohol use severity, current use of hypnotics and lifetime use of cocaine and amphetamines. Using logistic regression, we found that severity of depressive symptoms and lifetime cocaine use were independently associated with greater likelihood of PTSD, after controlling for age and ethnicity. Treatment implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-293
Number of pages7
JournalAddiction Research and Theory
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Keywords

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Illicit drugs
  • PTSD
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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