Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Patients with Heavy Alcohol Consumption and Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2018 Oct;42(10):1933-1938. doi: 10.1111/acer.13862. Epub 2018 Aug 26.


Background: Lifetime prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the general population is reported to be 6.8%. Individuals with alcohol dependence and substance abuse have high prevalence of PTSD. However, the prevalence of PTSD in heavy drinkers with alcoholic hepatitis (AH) is not known.The study's aim was to determine the prevalence of PTSD in heavy drinkers with and without AH.

Methods: We screened for PTSD using the Primary Care-PTSD questionnaire among heavy drinkers with (n = 115) and without (n = 64) AH participating in a multicenter observational study in which participants were followed up to 12 months following their enrollment.

Results: The prevalence of PTSD in heavy drinkers with AH was 34% and was not different from heavy drinking controls without liver disease (34%). In the entire group screened for PTSD, the presence of PTSD was associated with higher alcohol consumption as reported by average drinks per last 30 days and average grams of alcohol consumed per day (p = 0.047 for both tests), but not associated with relapse of heavy drinking or mortality. Similarly, patients with AH and PTSD did not have higher relapse rate or higher mortality compared to patients with AH but no PTSD.

Conclusions: Compared to previously reported prevalence in general population, heavy drinking individuals with or without AH have significantly higher prevalence of PTSD. However, PTSD was not associated with higher relapse rate or higher mortality in this population.

Keywords: Alcoholic Hepatitis; Alcoholic Liver Disease; Heavy Alcohol Drinkers; Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcohol Drinking / trends
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis*
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hepatitis, Alcoholic / diagnosis*
  • Hepatitis, Alcoholic / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis, Alcoholic / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology