The mental health of adolescents and young people experiencing traumatic stress and problematic substance use.

Natalie Peach, Emma Barrett, Vanessa Cobham, Joanne Ross, Sean Perrin, Sarah Bendall, Sudie Back, Kathleen Brady, Maree Teeson, Katherine Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalPublished meeting abstractpeer-review

24 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction and Aims: Up to 80% of adolescents have experienced trauma and one-in-seven suffer from post­ traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For 50% of these adoles­cents, the course of their illness is further complicated by a co-occurring substance use disorder (SUD). Despite high rates of comorbidity, treatment options remain sparse and there is limited understanding of the clinical profile associated with this comorbidity. We aimed to examine the clinical profile of adolescents seeking treat­ment for their substance use and traumatic stress.
Method: Data were collected as part of a randomised controlled trial examining the efficacy of an integrated psychological treatment for SUD and PTSD among young people aged 12-25 years were assessed for history of trauma, PTSD, substance use and a variety of other domains relating to mental health, social and family functioning and service utilisation.
Results: Almost all participants met Diagnostic and Sta­tistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, cri­teria for a severe SUD. The most common substances of concern were cannabis and alcohol. All participants expe­rienced multiple traumatic events and >85% met Diag­nostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, criteria for PTSD. High levels of clinically ele­vated depression and anxiety were present in the sample and almost half had a history of attempted suicide.
Discussions and Conclusions: Comorbid PTSD and SUD in young people are associated with a complex and severe clinical profile. It is imperative to intervene early in the trajectory in order to prevent the severe and long­ lasting burden associated with this common comorbidity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S16-S17
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Sept 22

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychology
  • Psychiatry

Free keywords

  • PTSD
  • Substance Abuse
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy
  • Adolescents
  • Young Adults


Dive into the research topics of 'The mental health of adolescents and young people experiencing traumatic stress and problematic substance use.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this