The #PTSD and Alcohol Series (Part 3)

PTSD Word MapFollowing on from earlier posts on the correlation between PTSD and alcohol consumption, the comments around – “Why Don’t more Firefighters have PTSD?” and my 2nd post on the subject – PTSD and Alcohol Part 2 – I’d like to continue on the subject.

During my continuing research, I recently found a piece entitled – Do The 12 steps Help with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? This first part of a (so far) two part article extols the benefits of participation in a group therapy process.

…patients with substance use disorders and PTSD who received focused treatment for PTSD immediately following treatment for the substance use disorder, along with participation in a twelve-step program during the first year of treatment, were more likely to experience long-term (five-year) remission from the substance use disorder…(Inside The Alcoholic Brain)

Many pieces of research have reflected the general views of practicing recovery professionals (myself included) in that; significant co-morbidity rates between PTSD and addictions exist. In 2001 it was estimated that – the rate of substance abuse among persons with PTSD was as high as 60-80%.

The case above, values the ’12 Steps’ process (as I do) but it fails to highlight the availability of others methods such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and ‘Mindfulness’ (which I also value). All of which are probably just as relevant in effective treatment regimes. I suspect that the prominence of ’12 Steps’ in the research is simply born out of the fact; it is probably the most prevalent/popular technique currently utilised in addiction therapy in the USA.

Whether or not excessive alcohol consumption can be a cause (or result of PTSD), or vice versa, I’m still open to persuasion. I remain convinced there is indeed a definite correlation between PTSD and Alcohol Abuse however the ‘Chicken and Egg’ conundrum is still of great interest to me.

With all the above in mind; surely parallel treatment of both conditions must be a key to resolving these disorders, when they exist together?

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About Dave Hasney

National Coordinator for UK SMART Recovery - Previously a Recovery Worker and prior to that a Management Consultant and H&S Practitioner - Kept sane by Angling, Good Food, Real Ale & Wine - Cynical thoughts sometimes developed from others.

Posted on 31-12-2015, in Addictions Recovery, Military, Society Babble and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Hi Dave thanks for sharing my post.
    Just to mention that the blog piece was, as the title of the original reference suggests, addressing the use of “Utilizing a Twelve-Step Program as an Adjunctive to Psychotherapy”. Adjunct as in “an additional treatment used for increasing the efficacy of the primary treatment.”
    It does necessarily mean it values the 12 steps at the expense of other treatments “or fail” to mention these other treatments. It simply highlights 12 step utility alongside other treatment
    The original article was about the 12 steps mainly and not in comparison to other treatments. Obviously the author was writing about 12 steps in relation to CPTSD and Addiction co-occurrence or co-morbidity, which is very high as you mention above.
    However it does also mention her support of work that includes “the integration of sensorimotor processing with cognitive emotional processing in the treatment of trauma, with the therapist interactively regulating clients’ dysregulated states as clients build their awareness and understanding of their inner bodily sensations.” – the emotion processing and regulation of trauma that I have written about throughout the blogsite’s history. The author is also a psychotherapist also and aware of a wide range of treatments.
    I have also written about the use of EMDR in various articles in the treatment of PTSD (and addiction) and a wide variety of blogs on Mindfulness and how it has neuroplastic and therapeutic effect on the brain.
    I have also written widely on the subject of PTSD which I suffer from myself. In fact I am due to start EMDR treatment very soon which supports my position that 12 steps treatment alone is not specific enough, thus insufficient, for me at least in recovering from PTSD.
    However, I will probably avail myself of the support of 12 step groups during this process to supplement the therapeutic work done in EMDR treatment. I believe this process is increasingly common for those who have addiction and other co-morbidity. One study recently stating that 65% of those attending 12 step groups also have outside professional help.
    There are also a great many blogs on Inside the Alcoholic Brain which address the egg and chicken debate you mention also. I have dropped a hint there as to my position on this debate.
    Thank again for sharing my blog post.
    Best wishes, Paul .

    Liked by 1 person

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