Background: It is believed that clients with psychological trauma experiences have a poor prognosis with regard to treatment participation and outcomes for substance use disorders. However, knowledge on the effect of the number of trauma experiences is scarce.
Methods: Using data from drug use disorder (DUD) treatment in Denmark, we assessed the impact of having experienced multiple potentially traumatic experiences on DUD treatment efficacy. Baseline and follow-up data from 775 young participants (mean age = 20.2 years, standard deviation = 2.6) recruited at nine treatment centers were included in analyses.
Results: Analyses showed that participants who were exposed multiple trauma experiences also reported a significantly higher intake of cannabis at treatment entry, and a lower well-being score than participants who reported less types or no types of victimization experiences. During treatment, patients with multiple types of trauma experiences showed a slower rate of reduction of cannabis than patients with few or no trauma experiences. The number of trauma types was not associated with number of sessions attended or the development of well-being in treatment.
Conclusion: Overall, the results show that although traumatized youth in DUD treatment show up for treatment, helping them to reduce substance use during treatment is uniquely challenging.
Trial registration: ISRCTN88025085 , date of registration: 29.08.2016, retrospectively registered.
Karsberg, S., Hesse, M., Pedersen, M.M. et al. The impact of poly-traumatization on treatment outcomes in young people with substance use disorders. BMC Psychiatry 21, 140 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-021-03129-x
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