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Seeking Safety treatment for male veterans with a substance use disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder symptomatology.

Boden MT, Kimerling R, Jacobs-Lentz J, Bowman D, Weaver C, Carney D, Walser R, Trafton JA. Seeking Safety treatment for male veterans with a substance use disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder symptomatology. Addiction (Abingdon, England). 2012 Mar 1; 107(3):578-86.

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AIMS: To determine whether substituting Seeking Safety (SS), a manualized therapy for comorbid substance use disorders (SUD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for part of treatment-as-usual (TAU) improves substance use outcomes. DESIGN: Randomized controlled effectiveness trial. SETTINGS: Out-patient Veterans Administration Health Care System SUD clinic. PARTICIPANTS: Ninety-eight male military Veterans with a SUD and co-occurring PTSD symptomatology. MEASUREMENTS: Drug and alcohol use and PTSD severity, measured on the first day of treatment, and 3 (i.e. the planned end of SS sessions) and 6 months following the baseline assessment. Treatment attendance and patient satisfaction were measured following treatment (3-month follow-up). Active coping was measured at treatment intake and following treatment. FINDINGS: SS compared to TAU was associated with better drug use outcomes (P < 0.05), but alcohol use and PTSD severity decreased equally under both treatments (P's < 0.01). SS versus TAU was associated with increased treatment attendance, client satisfaction and active coping (all P's < 0.01). However, neither these factors nor decreases in PTSD severity mediated the effect of treatment on drug use. CONCLUSIONS: The manualized treatment approach for substance use disorder, Seeking Safety, is well received and associated with better drug use outcomes than 'treatment as usual' in male veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. However, the mechanism of its effect is unclear.

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