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Substance-Abusing Women with PTSD: How Best to Treat?

Presented at the 118th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, San Diego, CA, August 12-15, 2010.

Denise Hien, PhD (Columbia School of Social Work, LI Node).

Traumatic stress exposures among women in community substance use treatment reveal a significant need for therapeutic approaches which can be effectively utilized with this population. The Women and Trauma study of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network (CTN-0015) examined the ability to train drug counselors to implement trauma therapy groups with safety and efficacy. A total of 353 women were recruited at seven outpatient CTPs across the United States. The study used a randomized, controlled, repeated measures design to assess the effectiveness of Seeking Safety (SS) plus standard substance abuse treatment in comparison to a control treatment (Women’s Health Education, WHE) plus standard substance abuse treatment. Participants received an eligibility assessment and a comprehensive baseline assessment and, if eligible, were randomized into SS or WHE in rolling admission groups for 6 weeks (12 sessions) stratified by alcohol use disorders. Follow up assessments were conducted 1-week, 3-, 6-, and 12-months post treatment. Overall findings support the effectiveness of conducting group trauma treatments for women in drug treatment in the reduction of PTSD symptoms. In addition to presenting the primary outcome findings, this presentation will review a number important secondary outcome analyses which focus on subgroups in the sample for whom the trauma therapy was clearly superior to the health education program including hazardous drinkers, stimulant users, and those with more severe PTSD. The relationship between PTSD symptom cluster changes over the course of treatment and substance misuse will also be presented. Findings support the chronic disease model of addiction and its comorbidity with trauma, as well as the need for more comprehensive treatment paradigms for patients with PTSD and substance use disorders. (Presentation, Power-Point slides, English, 2010)

Keywords: Behavior therapy | Community health services | Co-occurring disorders | Gender-specific interventions | Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) | Seeking Safety program | Trauma | Women | Women's Health Education program | American Psychological Association (APA) annual convention, 2010

Document No: 527

Submitted by Denise Hien, PhD, Lead Investigator (9/13/2010).

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Supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.
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Updated 9/2010 --