Treating substance use and traumatic stress among adolescents

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Date Commenced:
01/2018
Expected Date of Completion:
01/2021
Project Supporters:

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

Project Members: 
image - Kath Mills Sq
Senior Res Fellow (NH&MRC)
Ph +612 9385 0253
image - Maree Teesson 0
Professor
Ph EA Jasmin Bartlett: 02 9385 0167 / j.bartlett@unsw.edu.au
image - 1314149452 Emma Barrett 010
Senior Research Fellow
Ph 02 9385 0164
image - 1314150220 Joanne Ross 06
Senior Lecturer
Ph 9385 0333
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Research Officer
Ph 02 8936 1243
Project Main Description: 

It is estimated that 80% of adolescents have experienced at least one traumatic event 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), which frequently develops as a consequence of repeated “self-medication” of PTSD symptoms. Once established, both disorders serve to maintain and exacerbate the other, leading to a chronic course of illness and significant treatment complications. There is a critical need to intervene early in the trajectory of these conditions in order to prevent the chronic psychological, psychosocial, and physical health problems associated with this comorbidity.

Project Collaborators: External: 

Prof Sudie Back
Medical University of South Carolina

Dr Vanessa Cobham
University of Queensland

Dr Sarah Bendall
The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, ORYGEN

A/Prof Sean Perrin
Lund University

Prof Kathleen Brady
Medical University of South Carolina

Rationale: 

This project is a long overdue response to a significant public health concern. Despite the prevalence, disability and chronicity of comorbid PTSD+SUD, and the fact that these disorders typically have their onset in adolescence, there are currently no empirically validated treatment options for adolescents with this comorbidity.

Aims: 

The aim of this randomised controlled trial is to examine the efficacy of two integrated psychological therapies for adolescents aged 12-18 years who are experiencing traumatic stress and using alcohol or other drugs.

Design and Method: 

Two-armed, parallel, RCT utilising patient level randomisation. 100 adolescents (and their caregivers) will be recruited and randomised (1:1) to one of two treatment conditions. Structured interviews will be undertaken at baseline (pre-treatment) and 4- and 12-mths post-baseline.

Progress/Update: 

Recruitment will commence in early 2018. To be notified when recruitment starts please subscribe here.

Benefits: 

The findings from this trial will provide much needed empirical evidence to help guide treatment of traumatic stress and substance use among adolescents in Australia and internationally.

Project Status: 
Current