Substance Abuse on Posttraumatic Stress Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

The National Institute on Drug Abuse cautions that while no standardized, effective treatment has been identified for PTSD sufferers, researchers have determined that cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, or exposure therapy has shown some promise, with the latter technique being viewed as one of the more efficacious approaches available. In this regard, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that, "Exposure therapy is thought to be one of the most effective ways to manage PTSD. Recent studies suggest that some individuals with PTSD and comorbid cocaine addiction can be successfully treated with exposure therapy. Individuals in a recent study who suffered from both disorders showed significant reductions in all PTSD symptoms and in overall cocaine use" (quoted in the link between PTSD and substance abuse at p. 3). The use of cognitive behavioral therapies to treat substance-abusing PTSD patients is also reported by Tull (2008) who notes, "Alcohol and drug use can interfere with standard treatments for PTSD. Therefore, people have developed specialized cognitive-behavioral treatments for substance abuse and PTSD. One such treatment is called Seeking Safety" (p. 3). The Seeking Safety treatment regimen is comprised of 24 sessions that are designed to teach PTSD sufferers a variety of coping skills that can help them avoid substance abuse as their treatment of choice for their condition. According to Tull, "Some of these coping skills include learning how to ask others for help, recognizing warning signs or high risk situations for drug/alcohol use, self-care, and coping with PTSD symptoms" (p. 4). Although more clinical-based studies are needed, the research to date has found that the Seeking Safety regimen has reduced drug/alcohol use; reduced PTSD symptoms; reduced risk for suicide; reduced thoughts about suicide; reduced depression; improved social skills; improved family life and improved problem-solving skills (Tull).


What are some Web sites that address this issue? List the site link, name of the site, and a paragraph describing it..


Department of Veterans Affairs' National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at This Web site provides an overview of PTSD, some of the reasons contributing to the co-morbidity of substance abuse among this population and provides a series of course modules with instructor's narration that is available for downloading by those interested in this subject as well as counselors seeking to treat this population. Some of the topics included in these modules include assessment methods, typical issues and their implications for treatment, as well as empirically-based treatment considerations that should be taken into account for PTSD sufferers.


The Link between PTSD and Substance Abuse at This Web site provides a scholarly analysis from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to explain the inextricable relationship between PTSD and substance abuse, including an overview of PTSD, current treatment and support methods for PTSD sufferers in general and those with comorbid substance abuse problems in particular. A series of links to other PTSD and substance abuse information is also provided.


Treatments for Substance Abuse and PTSD: Seeking Safety by Matthew Tull at This author emphasizes the need for timely and effective treatment modalities for this population and cites the inordinately high incidence of co-morbid substance abusing behaviors by PTSD sufferers. The author also provides a concise overview of the treatment protocols involved in this cognitive behavioral approach to treating PTSD and substance abuse and provides a link to a Web site specifically devoted to the Seeking Safety approach ( as well as a series of other links to related subject areas such as PTSD and alcohol use and treatments, alcohol abuse by veterans and so forth.


List 2 or 3 journal articles (APA style) that you used to find out the answers to questions 1-3.

Green, C.A. (2006). Gender and use of substance abuse treatment services. Alcohol Research & Health, 29(1), 55-57.

Janikowski, T.P., Donnelly, J.P. & Lawrence, J.C. (2007). The functional limitations of clients with coexisting disabilities. The Journal of Rehabilitation, 73(4), 15-16.

Mckelvey, T. (2008, July-August). Combat fatigue: As returning veterans suffer post-traumatic stress disorder in record numbers, a controversial new drug is being tested that would dampen their memories. The American Prospect, 19(7), 5-6.

Volpicelli, J., Balaraman, G., Hahn, J., Wallace, H. & Bux, D. (1999). The role of uncontrollable trauma in the development of PTSD and alcohol addiction. Alcohol Research & Health, 23(4), 256.

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