Prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among patients with substance use disorder: It is higher than clinicians think it is

N. Gielen*, R.C. Havermans, M. Tekelenburg, A. Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: This study had three objectives. Firstly, the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma exposure was compared between individuals with and without substance use disorder (SUD). Secondly, we compared self-rating of PTSD and clinical judgement. Thirdly, an analysis of the characteristics of SUD/PTSD patients was performed.

Methods: The sample consisted of 423 patients with SUD and 206 healthy controls. All individuals were screened on PTSD using the self-rating inventory for PTSD.

Results: Significantly higher numbers of PTSD and trauma exposure were found in the SUD group (resp. 36.6 and 97.4%). PTSD went frequently unnoticed when relying on clinical judgement alone. Patients with SUD/PTSD were significantly more often unemployed and had a lower educational level. Axis I comorbidity and especially depressive disorders were more common in the SUD/PTSD group.

Conclusion: It is concluded that patients with SUD/PTSD are a substantial and vulnerable subgroup in addiction treatment facilities and that a systematic screening for PTSD is required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17734
Pages (from-to)17734
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychotraumatology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • clinical judgment
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • prevalence
  • substance use disorder
  • trauma exposure

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