Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Use


The article “Posttraumatic stress disorder and co-occurring substance use disorders: Advances in assessment and treatment” was composed by a group of researchers in 2012, September 1. The authors are McCauley, Killeen, Gros, Brady, and Back (2012). Notably, it is a peer-reviewed article; therefore, it comes from a scholarly journal, and other peer-reviewed articles refer to its findings vividly. The text is 27 pages long, and it was published in the 19th volume of the journal. The purpose of this paper is to review and critique the article.

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It should be noted that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can often be complicated by substance use disorders (SUDs), or the manifestations of both conditions can be simultaneous (McCauley et al., 2012). SUD can adversely complicate the treatment process and can result in such negative occurrences as violence, suicide attempts, increased depressive moods, poorer social status, and so on. Therefore, these two disorders require equal attention from the side of healthcare specialists. The authors hypothesized that both disorders’ treatment should co-occur to eliminate the possibilities of adverse health conditions (McCauley et al., 2012). The researchers suggested using the advances in pharmacological and behavioral treatment to address this complex issue.

Article’s Balance

It should be noted that the article is rather succinct. The researchers have carried out an extensive study of the two approaches towards SUD treatment in the case of PTSD, which are integrated behavioral methods and pharmacological treatment (McCauley et al., 2012). In the instance of the first method, exposure-based and non-exposure based care were reviewed. However, a certain bias was present. The authors stressed the limitations imposed by the insufficient research date in the area of pharmacological treatment, which did not evaluate the full potential of this method. Thus, they stressed the usability and feasibility of the integrated behavioral method in addressing SUD in PTSD patients (McCauley et al., 2012). In particular, the integrated exposure-based treatment was appraised as highly effective.


The quality of the article is overall high despite the bias that has occurred in the course of research. The article is technically correct and presented clearly with distinct designations. The authors apply different approaches to support their statements; thus, reliability and validity should not be questioned. Nonetheless, it is possible to state that the argumentation could be enhanced further if the authors provided counterpoints or supporting positions when they considered the usability of non-exposure based treatment. Importantly, they emphasized the existing limitations of the findings, but it would be useful to review the evidence from the studies arguing these biases (McCauley et al., 2012). Therefore, the follow-up articles on the exportability of the proposed integrated therapy are needed to ensure that the evidence is sufficient.


In general, I agree with the authors’ argumentation and logic. The provided evidence confirms that PTSD patients often suffer from SUD, which can strongly complicate their health and result in functional impairment. The authors have validated their hypothesis that both behavioral and pharmacological treatments should be administered to PTSD/SUD patients to ensure better nursing outcomes, supporting the existing evidence-based practice guidelines (McCauley et al., 2012). At present, the evidence suggests that SUD frequently occurs in people who have posttraumatic stress disorder, and these two manifestations should be treated simultaneously. Therefore, the authors have expanded the existing body of knowledge, stating that the complex approach towards treating PTSD/SUD patients will be rational and more effective than the application of a uniform method.


McCauley, J. L., Killeen, T., Gros, D. F., Brady, K. T., & Back, S. E. (2012). Posttraumatic stress disorder and co-occurring substance use disorders: Advances in assessment and treatment. Clinical psychology, 19(3), 1-27. Web.

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"Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Use." StudyCorgi, 22 Nov. 2020,

1. StudyCorgi. "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Use." November 22, 2020.


StudyCorgi. "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Use." November 22, 2020.


StudyCorgi. 2020. "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Use." November 22, 2020.


StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Use'. 22 November.

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