Violence, trauma, and post-traumatic stress disorder among women drug users

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In order to examine the association between the experience of violent events, trauma, and post-traumatic stress disorder among women drug users, 105 women in treatment for addictive disorders were interviewed. One hundred four of the study participants reported trauma in 1 or more of 14 categories of traumatic events, 59% of whom reported symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder. Among those with PTSD, 97% reported one or more violent traumas as compared with 73% of those without PTSD. The likelihood of PTSD was strongly associated with the number of violent traumas reported by a woman. Women in recovery from drug addiction are likely to have a history of violent trauma and are at high risk for post-traumatic stress disorder. Screening for PTSD among women with an addictive disorder should become part of the diagnostic and treatment routine.

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Fullilove, M.T., Fullilove, R.E., Smith, M. et al. Violence, trauma, and post-traumatic stress disorder among women drug users. J Trauma Stress 6, 533–543 (1993) doi:10.1007/BF00974321

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Key Words

  • violent events
  • trauma
  • post-traumatic stress disorder