Journal of Traumatic Stress

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 549–560 | Cite as

Chronic combat-related PTSD and concurrent substance abuse: Implications for treatment of this frequent “dual diagnosis”

  • Patrick A. Boudewyns
  • M. Gail Woods
  • Lee Hyer
  • J. William Albrecht


Vietnam combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who had requested treatment through a special VA-sponsored PTSD treatment program were evaluated using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS). Based on the DIS, 91.12% of the sample had a lifetime diagnosis of substance abuse or dependence and this was, by far, the most frequent co-diagnosis in the sample. The most common reason for patients not completing the treatment program was for use of illegal substances or alcohol while in the program, even though they were aware that to do so meant that they would be either discharged or transferred to another unit. The percentage of other co-diagnoses, and an estimate of currentness for all Axis I diagnoses were also presented on the sample of 102 patients. It was determined that for this population, the symptoms of substance abuse were chronic and were inextricably intertwined with PTSD symptoms and with the initial stressor (combat). Treatment process implications were discussed.

Key words

PTSD DIS substance abuse drug abuse alcohol abuse verterans Vietnam dual diagnosis 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick A. Boudewyns
    • 1
  • M. Gail Woods
    • 2
  • Lee Hyer
  • J. William Albrecht
    • 1
  1. 1.VA Medical Center and Medical College of Georgia, August
  2. 2.Research Triangle InstituteResearch Triangle Park

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