Adverse events in an integrated trauma-focused intervention for women in community substance abuse treatment

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2008 Oct;35(3):304-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2007.12.001. Epub 2008 Feb 21.


A substantial number of women who enter substance abuse treatment have a history of trauma and meet criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Fear regarding the extent to which PTSD treatment can evoke negative consequences remains a research question. This study explored adverse events related to the implementation of an integrated treatment for women with trauma and substance use disorder (Seeking Safety) compared with a nontrauma-focused intervention (Women's Health Education). Three hundred fifty-three women enrolled in community substance abuse treatment were randomized to 1 of the 2 study groups and monitored weekly for adverse events. There were no differences between the two intervention groups in the number of women reporting study-related adverse events (28 [9.6%] for the Seeking Safety group and 21[7.2%] for the Women's Health Education group). Implementing PTSD treatment in substance abuse treatment programs appears to be safe, with minimal impact on intervention-related adverse psychiatric and substance abuse symptoms. More research is needed on the efficacy of such interventions to improve outcomes of PTSD and substance use.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Community Mental Health Services / methods*
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / methods
  • Diagnosis, Dual (Psychiatry)
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome