Posttraumatic stress disorder symptom clusters and substance use among patients with upper limb amputations due to traumatic injury Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Purpose: Examining the relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder symptom clusters (re-experiencing, avoidance, hyperarousal, emotional numbing) on three substance use measures among individuals with upper limb amputation due to traumatic injury - an understudied population with high rates of posttraumatic stress disorder.Methods: Multi-site, cross-sectional design. Participants (N = 236) were recruited from seven prosthetic rehabilitation centres across the USA and completed measures of PTSD, alcohol use, prescription medication overuse, and illicit drug use.Results: Twenty-six percent of participants screened positive for posttraumatic stress disorder, 39% for problematic alcohol use, 12% for prescription medication overuse, and 7% for illicit drug use. No association was found between posttraumatic stress disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms clusters on problematic alcohol use. However, hyperarousal symptoms increased odds of overusing prescription medication (odds ratio = 3.30); further, a positive screen for posttraumatic stress disorder increased odds of illicit drug use (odds ratio = 2.95).Conclusions: These findings demonstrate the importance of assessing psychological well-being and a variety of substance use behaviours following amputation from traumatic injury. These findings may also provide clinically-relevant targets for prevention and intervention regarding prescription medication and illicit substance use, such as incorporating evidence-based treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder hyperarousal symptoms (e.g., prolonged exposure) and/or integrated treatment for posttraumatic stress-substance misuse (e.g., Seeking Safety) into patients' long-term inpatient/outpatient rehabilitation plans.Implications for rehabilitationPosttraumatic stress disorder hyperarousal symptoms increased odds of overusing prescription medication among individuals with upper limb amputation due to traumatic injury; a positive screen for posttraumatic stress disorder increased odds of illicit drug use.Psychological assessments should be incorporated into treatment and rehabilitation plans following amputation from traumatic injury.Rehabilitation specialists should consider adding or integrating evidence-based treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder into patients' long-term rehabilitation plan to reduce risk for problematic substance use.Findings support calls by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention to overhaul prescription medication guidelines, including the need to assess risk and address harms concerning overuse of prescription medication.

author list (cited authors)

  • Kearns, N. T., Powers, M. B., Jackson, W. T., Elliott, T. R., & Ryan, T.

citation count

  • 2

publication date

  • December 2019