Alcohol problems and posttraumatic stress disorder in female crime victims

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Abstract

Comorbidity between alcohol use and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been well documented. However, there are few longitudinal studies with acute trauma samples. The present study examined symptoms of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) and PTSD longitudinally after assault. Female sexual (n = 69) and physical assault victims (n = 39) were assessed 2 to 4 weeks and 3 months post trauma. Women who had lifetime AUD had higher intrusive and avoidance symptoms than those who did not have AUD. Women who had any alcohol problems had higher PTSD symptoms. Participants who had alcohol problems had the same pattern of symptom recovery as those who did not have alcohol problems but remained more symptomatic over the 3 months. These findings suggest that early intervention strategies for women who have previous histories of alcohol problems and seek medical attention early post trauma may be indicated.

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