Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Term Paper

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Thus it is important that the researcher differentiate between alcoholism, PTSD, and a dual diagnosis. For purposes of this research the author will be concerned primarily with patients that exhibit dualistic symptoms of PTSD and alcoholism, not one or the other. Thus the body of research examined will focus on patients with alcoholism and PTSD simultaneously, and then attempt to discern whether one is directly related to the other via cause and effect or other relationship.

There are some studies that suggest that alcohol abuse among patients often results as a response to trauma, and that alcoholism may make pre-existing disorders including PTSD worse (Thornton, 2003; Jaycox, et. al, 2004). The link between the two is the primary focus of this research.

Research provides strong evidence that many patients with PTSD and other trauma related disorders are more likely to exhibit substance abuse problems (ISTSS, 2003). Statistics suggest that up to three quarters of people who have experienced abuse or trauma report alcohol abuse; that up to 80% of veterans seeking PTSD treatment have alcohol use disorders and that women show an increased risk for dual diagnosis of PTSD and alcohol abuse (ISTSS, 2003).

Children experiencing abuse are also 4.5 times more likely to report alcohol abuse than those who are not abused in early or late childhood (ISTSS, 2003). This pattern is shown to often continue throughout the adult life of children, and may even extend into future generations, a topic discussed in further detail with regard to genetics and environmental factors in PTSD later in this work.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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PTSD and Co morbidity of Alcoholism: The Role of Trauma TC "PTSD and Co morbidity of Alcoholism: The Role of Trauma" f C l "2"

The role of trauma has been linked in numerous studies with the existence of PTSD and alcoholism. Many of these studies have focused on examining the co morbidity of PTSD and other psychiatric disorders in patients with alcoholism. The primary emphasis of this study is examination of the relationship between the two.

Term Paper on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Assignment

PTSD by nature and definition involves some sort of trauma. For purposes of this study the exact nature of the trauma experienced by patients with PTSD will not be examined. By 'trauma' this researcher intends to examine studies related to any/all of the following: sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, perceived parental dysfunction, accidents or personal injury.

Any and all of these factors are examined in the studies that have been conducted of trauma, though the majority of the research available on PTSD has focused on trauma related directly to abuse, whether physical, mental or emotional. Many of the studies available on the role of trauma have also focused on the experiences of veterans in war, and have found that a relationship exists between PTSD and the prevalence in alcoholism in victims (ISTSS, 2003; Thornton, 2003). This study will not focus on the experiences of veterans, but rather the population at large in order to gauge information that is most applicable to the population at large and create more generalizable conclusions.

Bulijan, Vreek, Cekid, Karlovic, Zoricic & Golik (2002) conducted a study investigating the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder with regard to the prevalence of co morbid alcohol dependence in displaced persons. The authors analyzed patient experiences via use of personal interviews and examination. Their interviews based on the DSM IV criteria and the Los Angeles Check List combined with a medical examination of the sample proved that 50% of displaced persons demonstrated symptoms of PTSD and 43% had co morbid alcohol dependence. Among the other findings of the study include the finding that war trauma may impact the development of alcohol dependence and other medical problems associated with PTSD.

The method utilized by Bulijan et. al (2002) suggests a positive experience with use of survey and interview methods to ascertain whether or not a relationship exists between PTSD and alcoholism/addiction. This research backs the authors premise that a survey type analysis is appropriate for addressing the field research portion of this study.

In a study conducted by Volpicelli, Balaraman, Hahn, Wallance & Bux (2000) the role of trauma with regard to the development of PTSD and alcohol addiction are examined. The researchers work to present a model explaining the effects of trauma on psychological distress, and hypothesize that alcohol consumption is influenced by PTSD. Further the authors conclude that alcohol may help relieve many of the symptoms associated with post-trauma including: anxiety, irritability and depression, as the alcohol compensates for deficiencies that may occur within endorphin activity in patients who have experienced a traumatic experience. Further the authors suggest that alcohol increases endorphin activity and that drinking following trauma can compensate for the decrease in endorphins demonstrated after emotional distress.

Jaycox, Ebener, Damesex & Becker (2004) find that trauma exposure and related symptoms are associated with substance abuse. In addition the survival analysis indicated that adolescents exposed to trauma and with co morbid PTSD are more likely to drop out of an abuse treatment program than those without. More behavioral problems and gender specific behavioral problems were evident in patients with PTSD.

The researcher concludes based on the evidence presented above that PTSD is more likely associated with alcoholism in patients that have experienced or been exposed to trauma. There is a large body of evidence suggesting that a majority of the population (up to 70%) will experience some form of Trauma at some point in their lives (Thornton, 2003) thus it is critical to assess the extent of the relationship between the two.

Childhood Abuse and Gender Differences in PTSD TC "Childhood Abuse and Gender Differences in PTSD" f C l "2"

Several studies have been conducted to determine whether early childhood abuse might be linked to the existence of PTSD and co morbid alcoholism. In addition several studies have been conducted to determine whether or not differences exist between male and female abuse problems, PTSD and alcoholism. There is a large body of work supporting a link between early abuse and/or trauma and subsequent PTSD or other behavioral problems. In addition there is evidence to suggest that in general women are more utilize alcohol to mitigate the effects of trauma and long-term behavioral and emotional problems that result from significant trauma. Several of these studies are examined below.

In a study conducted by Langeland, Draijer & Van Den Brink (2004) the co morbidity of alcoholism and PTSD was examined in adults who experienced childhood trauma and perceived parental dysfunction. The study was conducted among treatment seeking alcoholics and examined the relationships between childhood abuse including sexual, physical or both, and the presence of co morbid affective disorders, anxiety disorders, suicide attempts and the "potential confounding effects of other childhood adversities and adult assault histories."

The methodology utilized was an assessment of 155 treatment-seeking alcoholics via utilization of a structured interview, a composite diagnostic interview and the European Addiction Severity Index. The author's findings revealed that the severity of childhood abuse was associated with various disorders in males and females including PTSD particularly in women, thus a relationship were found between alcoholism and PTSD.

Langeland, Van Den Brink and Draijer (2002) examine the relationship between childhood abuse and the severity of alcoholism and find that the severity of drinking problems in male alcoholics is not related to trauma or neglect, however among women childhood dual abuse and "perceived maternal dysfunction" were associated with the severity of drinking problems (p.200).

This study correlates with one conducted by Sonne, Back, Zuniga, Randall & Brady (2003) find that gender differences exist between males and females with co morbid alcohol dependence and post traumatic stress disorder. In their study they found that PTSD "more often preceded alcohol dependence in women than in men" (Sonne, 2003:422).

In a contrary study Op Den Velde, Aarts et. al, (2002) find that there is no correlation between PTSD and alcohol consumption in veterans; the authors conclude however that this lack of correlation is related to the exclusion from "organized resistance activities of people prone to the over consumption of alcohol" and the authors hypothesize that substance abuse is associated generally with patterns of psychological tension reduction modes (p.359). It is important to note that while this study does not find a correlation to exist between PTSD and alcohol consumption within the given population, the number of studies conducted that do find evidence of an association between the two far outnumber this one study, suggesting that this study is not relative to the population at large, but may be more relevant to PTSD in victims who have participated in war efforts or similar traumatic experiences.

Brown (2001) examined the treatment outcomes for female patients who are substance abused disordered with a co morbid diagnosis of PTSD. Patients participating in the study… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  (2004, November 21).  Retrieved January 24, 2021, from

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"Post Traumatic Stress Disorder."  21 November 2004.  Web.  24 January 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Post Traumatic Stress Disorder."  November 21, 2004.  Accessed January 24, 2021.