There is a strong conception that exposure therapy that works for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) would degenerate alcoholism. However, a recent study on the matter reveals that the belief is not entirely correct. According to the report, doctors can safely treat both the problems together.
According to the researchers, individuals suffering from both alcoholism and PTSD gained most from the concurrent treatments in order to lessen alcohol cravings and reduce distress, compared to the individuals on other treatment procedure.
The lead author of the research, Edna Foa expressed that in their study they discovered that the people who got medication and exposure therapy with the treatment for PTSD together to reduce their drug addiction, offer more effective outcome.
It is significant to note that PTSD is developed within the people after they have experienced traumatic events. Moreover, in most of the cases these people are left with a delicate state of distress even though when they are out of danger. However, it is also evident that a majority of people among them become alcohol addicted to some extent.
As stated in the report of The Journal of the American Medical Association, more than 11 million adult citizens of the United States are suffering from PTSD and approximately one-third of them are reliant on alcohol.
The researchers conducted the study in order to conclude whether an increasing drinking is the result of utilizing both exposure therapy, that is directed to treat PTSD, and a drug named naltrexone, that is used to treat alcoholism, together. In order to determine the result, Foa and her colleagues conducted the entire survey on 165 people suffering from alcoholism and PTSD between February 2001 and June 2009 and allocated them to one of four groups of treatment.
The first group of 40 obtained naltrexone that is proved effective to lessen alcohol cravings and prolonged exposure therapy that is aimed to enable patients tackle situations or memories they usually avoid.
The second group of 40 received naltrexone and general support counseling, the third group consists of 42 people who obtained placebo pills and exposure therapy. The last group of 43 people received support counseling and placebo pills. After continuing treatment for six months, it is evident that individuals obtaining naltrexone both with and without exposure therapy gained the most.
According to the source, the patients who consume alcohol between 71 and 79 percent of days, reduced to about 13 percent of days for those not receiving naltrexone and 5 percent among those on the medication. Researchers also found that the largest decline in alcohol addiction also happened among individuals taking naltrexone.
The study also noticed that in comparison to basic counseling, there was no remarkable difference in PTSD symptoms among those who underwent the exposure therapy.
Foa hoped that the study would encourage the doctors who are treating alcohol dependence and PTSD to conduct both the treatment together instead of treating one after another that provides no effective outcome.
The director of the Trauma and PSTD program and a professor at Columbia University, Yuval Neria agreed with the report of the study and stated that this would encourage the physicians to prescribe patients with PTSD especially the war veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq to both medicine and exposure therapy.