PTSD: Risk Factor for Multiple Addictions in Police Officers Hospitalized for Alcohol


on the June 3, 2019

Published in Eur Addict Res

Collaborative research project led by Prof. W. El-Hage

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Is a Risk Factor for Multiple Addictions in Police Officers Hospitalized for Alcohol


Background - In police officers, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with alcohol use disorder (AUD), but we lack data on the association between PTSD and other substance-related and addictive disorders.

Objectives - We assessed whether PTSD could be a risk factor for different substance-related and addictive disorders in police officers, including alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and gambling.

Methods - This cross-sectional study included all police officers admitted consecutively for alcohol to an inpatient ward dedicated to police officers (Le Courbat rehabilitation center, France; n= 133). Each patient completed self-administered questionnaires that assessed lifetime exposure to potentially traumatic events (Life Event Checklist for DSM-5), PTSD severity and diagnosis (PTSD Checklist for DSM-5), AUD severity (Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test [AUDIT]), tobacco dependence (Fagerström test for Nicotine Dependence), cannabis dependence (Cannabis Abuse Screening test), and gambling disorder (Canadian Problem Gambling Index).

Results - Mean AUDIT score was 23.7 ± 8.0; 66.2% had an AUDIT score ≥20. Our sample comprised a high prevalence for PTSD (38.3%) and for substance-related and addictive disorders: tobacco dependence (68.4%), cannabis dependence (3.8%), and pathological gambling (3%). Patients with PTSD experienced higher lifetime exposure to traumatic experiences: physical assault, severe human suffering, sudden accidental death of another person, and other types of stressful events/experiences. In multiple linear regressions adjusted for age, sex, and marital status, PTSD was a significant predictor of the severity of AUD and tobacco use disorder, but not of the severity of cannabis use disorder nor gambling disorder.

Conclusions - PTSD is common in police officers hospitalized for alcohol and associated with a higher severity of some addictive disorders (alcohol/tobacco). PTSD and its comorbid addictive disorders should be systematically screened and treated in this population.

© 2019 S. Karger AG, Basel.


#Addictive; #Behavior; #Posttraumatic stress disorder; #Rehabilitation center; #Substance-related and addictive #disorders; #Tobacco use disorder

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Prof. Wissam El-Hage :