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16-09-2015 | Uitgave 2/2016

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 2/2016

Co-Occurring Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD Symptoms, and Alcohol Use in Veterans

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment > Uitgave 2/2016
Daniel F. Gros, Kristina J. Korte, Michael David Horner, Kathleen T. Brady, Sudie E. Back


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been identified as a significant health problem among veterans. Recent research demonstrates the potential interaction and magnification of symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorders (SUD) in veterans with a history of TBI; however, there is very limited research on the co-occurrence of the three conditions. Veterans (N = 115) with comorbid PTSD and SUD completed a baseline assessment for enrollment into a larger treatment study. As part of that assessment, participants completed a TBI screener as well as self-report measures for pain and physical health, affective symptoms, and substance use. Almost half of the sample (48 %) endorsed a history of a previous head trauma with loss of consciousness (LOC). Participants with and without head trauma with LOC were compared across various measures of functioning. Increased severity of physical health complaints and affective symptoms were reported by the TBI group compared to controls. However, the increases in affective symptoms were relatively small. No group differences were observed for alcohol use. Together, the findings suggest that treatment-seeking veterans with a history of head trauma with LOC may present with roughly equivalent symptoms of PTSD and SUD to those without said history.

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