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The connection between alcohol use, PTSD symptoms, and sleep disturbance

A factor that may influence both post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and alcohol-related problems is sleep disturbance. This study sought to answer whether sleep disorders affected the relationship between PTSD symptoms and alcohol use, and whether PTSD symptoms influenced the association between sleep and alcohol problems. Researchers followed a group of veterans for a year and found that PTSD symptoms at baseline influenced the severity of alcohol problems 12 months later, but sleep disturbance did not mediate the relationship between PTSD symptoms and severity of alcohol problems. They also found that sleep disturbance at the beginning of the study was associated with alcohol problems, and PTSD symptoms somewhat mediated the association between sleep disturbance and alcohol problems.

The paper, “Longitudinal associations between sleep, intrusive thoughts, and alcohol problems among veterans” was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. It was published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Research & Resources