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Motives for substance use and 6-month substance use outcomes among detoxification patients with a history of physical or sexual abuse or posttraumatic stress disorder.

Froelich J, Timko C, Woodhead EL. Motives for substance use and 6-month substance use outcomes among detoxification patients with a history of physical or sexual abuse or posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of traumatic stress. 2022 Jun 1; 35(3):976-987.

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Abstract:

Trauma-exposed individuals with a history of physical or sexual abuse or documented posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis may use substances to address trauma-related symptoms. However, the motives for using substances among adults with a trauma history or PTSD are unclear despite their informative role in treatment planning. Additionally, trauma is associated with poorer substance use outcomes, although this has not been examined among detoxification patients. The current study examined motives for substance use at baseline and substance use outcomes during 6 months postbaseline among 298 veteran detoxification patients (i.e., alcohol, opioids, or both) with and without (a) a history of physical or sexual abuse and (b) a PTSD diagnosis. At baseline, participants with a physical or sexual abuse history were more likely to report the use of substances to temporarily lower stress, forget problems, and avoid uncomfortable feelings than those without this history, ds = 0.25-0.40. Compared with participants without a PTSD diagnosis, participants with diagnosed PTSD were more likely to report using substances to temporarily lower stress, d = 0.25. Longitudinal analyses demonstrated that the baseline characteristics of physical abuse history, sexual abuse history, and diagnosed PTSD were all associated with higher scores on a measure of risk factors for relapse (e.g., cravings, family/social problems) as assessed during the postdetoxification period, = .13, .10, and .09, respectively. Detoxification patients with physical and/or sexual abuse histories or PTSD diagnoses may need treatments that better address trauma symptoms to help them sustain abstinence.





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