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Drug/Alcohol Use Associated with PTSD in Soldiers

Am J Addictions; ePub 2018 Dec 12; Homish, et al

Soldiers experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are reporting current drug and hazardous alcohol use, suggestive of self‐medication, a recent study found. Therefore, it is imperative to consider the impact of PTSD on substance use broadly, as this work shows that overall symptoms and symptom clusters have an impact on male and female US Army Reserve/National Guard USAR/NG soldiers. Data are from the baseline assessment of Operation: Soldiers and Families Excelling Through the Years (SAFETY), a longitudinal study of USAR/NG soldiers (n=389 males, n=84 females). Researchers examined associations between current substance use (drug use, hazardous drinking, and smoking) and overall PTSD symptoms, and symptom clusters. Additionally, they examined PTSD by sex interactions. They found:

  • Greater overall PTSD symptoms were associated with higher odds of drug use (OR=1.08) and hazardous drinking (OR=1.04).
  • Greater individual symptom cluster scores were associated with higher odds of drug use and hazardous drinking.
  • Interaction models revealed no differences in these associations on the basis of sex.
  • There were no associations between PTSD symptoms or symptom clusters and smoking.

Homish GG, Hoopsick RA, Heavey SC, Homish DL, Cornelius JR. Drug use and hazardous drinking are associated with PTSD symptoms and symptom clusters in US Army Reserve/National Guard soldiers. [Published online ahead of print December 12, 2018]. Am J Addictions. doi:10.1111/ajad.12829.