Behavioral couples therapy for comorbid substance use disorders and combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder among male veterans: an initial evaluation.

Abstract

Outcomes after behavioral couples therapy (BCT) were compared for 19 dually diagnosed veterans with combat-related PTSD and a substance use disorder (SUD, primarily alcohol dependence) and 19 veterans with SUD only. Clients with and without comorbid PTSD had very similar pre-treatment clinical profiles on dimensions of substance misuse, relationship functioning, and psychological symptoms. Further, both PTSD and non-PTSD clients showed good compliance with BCT, attending a high number of BCT sessions, taking Antabuse, and going to AA. Finally, both PTSD and non-PTSD groups improved from before BCT to immediately after and 12 months after BCT. Specific improvements noted were increased relationship satisfaction and reductions in drinking, negative consequences of drinking, male-to-female violence, and psychological distress symptoms. Extent and pattern of improvement over time were similar whether the client had PTSD or not. The present results suggest that BCT may have promise in treating clients with comorbid SUD and combat-related PTSD.

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