Treatment outcomes for women with substance abuse and PTSD who have experienced complex trauma

Lisa R. Cohen, Denise A. Hien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Objective: This study assessed the effect of cognitive-behavioral therapy on a range of problems associated with complex trauma in a sample of women with comorbid substance use disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Methods: A total of 107 women with current or subthreshold PTSD and a current substance use disorder from an urban, low-income area were recruited from both community and clinical populations. Participants were recruited between 1997 and 2000. A quasi-experimental design was used, and participants who received cognitive-behavioral therapy (N=75) were compared with those in a control group who received no active study treatment (N=32). All participants were given the same list of community treatment resources and told that they could pursue services while participating in the study if they wished. Results: At the end of treatment (three months post-baseline), compared with participants in the control group, those in the active treatment group showed significant reductions in symptoms of PTSD and alcohol use disorders, with a trend toward reductions in symptoms of drug use disorders. No significant differences were found between the groups on depression, dissociation, and social and sexual functioning outcomes. Conclusions: These findings underscore the challenge and necessity of addressing the unique and wide-ranging needs of women with substance use disorder who have been exposed to early and multiple interpersonal traumas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-106
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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