What complications are commonly associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Updated: Nov 14, 2018
  • Author: T Allen Gore, MD, MBA, CMCM, DFAPA; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

Psychiatric and medical comorbidities are common with PTSD. Among individuals with PTSD there are increased rates of:

  • Mood disorders

  • Panic and other anxiety disorders

  • Substance abuse disorders [17, 18, 19, 20]

  • Neurological conditions (e.g., headaches, dementia) [21]

Substance abuse is a particular problem for individuals with PTSD. Studies have found that up to 51.9% of men with PTSD concomitantly misuse alcohol. In one study, men with PTSD reported an earlier age of onset of alcohol dependence, greater alcohol use intensity and craving, and more severe legal problems due to alcohol use. In the same study, PTSD more often preceded alcohol dependence in women than men and women were more likely to test positive for cocaine upon entering treatment. [17] Use of analgesic medications (opiate and non-opiate) may be raised among individuals with PTSD. [18]


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