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Study Reveals New Information About PTSD and Substance Abuse

A new study reported by CNN shows people who are treated for both post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse have improved PTSD symptoms, without an increase in severity of substance dependence.

People who are treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Addiction have shown improvement in their PTSD symptoms without increasing their dependence on substances, according to the study.

For years, doctors and addiction experts have believed that revisiting painful events associated with PTSD would increase the likelihood of worsening an addict’s substance abuse issues. Prolonged exposure therapy, an effective PTSD therapy, was used for the study. This therapy uses a technique that guides patients toward returning to their traumatic experience. Patients relive the trauma by describing it in the present tense.

103 people suffering from PTSD and addiction participated in the study. They were randomly selected to receive either substance abuse treatment or substance abuse treatment plus PTSD treatment. The participants were studied for nine months. In the study, 103 participants with both PTSD and substance abuse were randomly assigned to receive either prolonged exposure therapy plus substance abuse treatment, or to receive substance abuse treatment without PTSD therapy. After nine months, both groups had reduced PTSD symptoms. Participants who received combined treatment did not show an increase in substance abuse severity.

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