A new VA study has found that combat experience is associated with a higher risk of alcohol use to cope with PTSD symptoms. But the connection is weaker when accounting for the severity of the PTSD.
In an observational study of more than 11,000 men with at least one traumatic experience, the researchers found that those with combat experience were much more likely than those without to report drinking alcohol to cope with PTSD. The diversity of traumatic experiences, the severity of PTSD, and diagnoses of alcohol abuse or dependence were significantly tied to drinking to cope with PTSD.
However, combat experience was not strongly linked to drinking to cope when the researchers adjusted for a person’s total number of PTSD symptoms.