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Substance Use and Traumatic Stress

Decades of research have shown a strong link between traumatic stress exposure and substance use. We used to think that we had to wait to treat PTSD until people stopped using substances. Research now suggests that this is not the case. For part two of our Friday Fast Facts series, ISTSS will share new materials on PTSD and substance use every Friday in August 2020.

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How Often Do PTSD and SUDs Co-occur?

See the fact sheet,developed by Denise Hien and Melissa J. Zielinski for information on how and why PTSD and SUDs co-occur, as well as treatment options for co-occurring PTSD and SUD.


Download the Fact Sheet

View the fact sheet references.

Research on Substance Use and Traumatic Stress

PTSD and SUD Research Brief

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorder (SUD) often co-occur. This co-occurrence is associated with a worse, more costly, and more complex clinical course than either disorder alone. However, there are effective treatments—some for PTSD and SUD individually, and some for treating posttraumatic stress and substance use problems concurrently. In this research brief, developed by Denise Hien and Melissa J. Zielinski, read through curated articles on conceptual frameworks, assessment and intervention for co-occurring PTSD and SUD.

Podcast Episode: Substance Use and Traumatic Stress

In this installment of the ISTSS podcast Trauma Talk, co-hosts Dr. Melissa Zielinski and Dr. Anne Wagner talk to Dr. Denise Hien, Dr. Sonya Norman, Dr. Sudie Back, and Dr. Debra Kaysen. Their conversation covers Substance Use Disorder (SUD) as a comorbidity with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This expert panel discusses the rates of comorbidity as well as how to proceed with treatment.

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