Motives for substance use in the presence and absence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A research Portfolio
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Background: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is frequently linked with substance use disorder (SUD). However, the nature of this association remains unclear. A clearer understanding of the dynamic associations between PTSD and SUD may shed light on the course of these two disorders thereby, identifying areas for intervention, which may potentially reduce some of the associated costly and harmful outcomes. Methods: Firstly, a systematic review was conducted to investigate the evidence base regarding the relationship between PTSD and SUD. Secondly, an empirical project was undertaken to explore functional associations between PTSD and SUD. This was achieved by comparing, motives for substance use, anxiety and depression symptoms, and SUD symptom severity amongst treatmentseeking adults with and without PTSD. Results: Results from the systematic review suggest that individuals with comorbid PTSD and SUD have more severe clinical profiles compared to individuals with a SUD alone. The results from the empirical study indicate that those with PTSD endorse coping-related motives for substance use significantly more than those without PTSD. Furthermore, those with PTSD had significantly elevated SUD severity ratings and higher anxiety and depression scores. Conclusions: Findings suggest that individuals with comorbid PTSD and SUD are motivated to use substances to cope with negative affect. The clinical implications of this are discussed.