Understanding Posttraumatic Stress Disorder at a Residential Program for Concurrent Addiction and Mental Health Problems

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Frost, Elizabeth A.
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Mount Saint Vincent University
The experience of trauma is higher in individuals with concurrent disorders than in the general population, yet little attention to trauma is given in making a clinical diagnosis for mental illness. This study involved screening for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a residential concurrent population, and indicates 60% of individuals presenting for treatment of addiction likely suffer from PTSD as well. Typically PTSD was undiagnosed, with only 6% of those positively assessed having a diagnosis in their clinical record. The study involved 146 participants and resulted in 87 people meeting PTSD criteria. Individuals were screened upon admission to the program over a one-year period of the programs operation. The group reported a total of 483 traumatic events which met Criterion A of the DSM-IV for PTSD. The most common mental illness diagnosed among the group was depression, followed by personality disorders. Suggestions for improvement of the program curriculum to better address the needs of the population are given. The most common substance of choice was alcohol, followed by cannabis, poly substances and cocaine.
Mental Health Problems , Addiction , Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)