The link between substance abuse and posttraumatic stress disorder in women. A research review

Am J Addict. Fall 1997;6(4):273-83.


Research has documented a high incidence of comorbid post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse. Women substance abusers, in particular, show high rates of this dual diagnosis (30% to 59%), most commonly deriving from a history of repetitive childhood physical and/or sexual assault. Rates for men are two to three times lower and typically stem from combat or crime trauma. Patients with both disorders are characterized by high severity on a multitude of psychological and treatment variables and use of the most severe drugs (cocaine and opioids). Treatment research on women is limited but suggests the possibility of retaining patients and achieving positive outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / diagnosis
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / diagnosis
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / statistics & numerical data*
  • Combat Disorders / diagnosis
  • Combat Disorders / epidemiology
  • Combat Disorders / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Diagnosis, Dual (Psychiatry)
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology