Drinking to ease the burden: a cross-sectional study on trauma, alcohol abuse and psychopathology in a post-conflict context

Ertl V, Saile R, Neuner F, Catani C (2016)
BMC Psychiatry 16(1): 202.

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Journal Article | Published | English
Abstract
Background It is likely that alcohol use and abuse increase during and after violent conflicts. The most prominent explanation of this phenomenon has been referred to as self-medication hypothesis. It predicts that psychotropic substances are consumed to deal with conflict-related psychic strains and trauma. In northern Uganda, a region that has been affected by a devastating civil war and is characterized by high levels of alcohol abuse we examined the associations between war-trauma, childhood maltreatment and problems related to alcohol use. Deducing from the self-medication hypothesis we assumed alcohol consumption moderates the relationship between trauma-exposure and psychopathology. Methods A cross-sectional epidemiological survey targeting war-affected families in post-conflict northern Uganda included data of male (n = 304) and female (n = 365) guardians. We used standardized questionnaires in an interview format to collect data on the guardians’ socio-demography, trauma-exposure, alcohol consumption and symptoms of alcohol abuse, PTSD and depression. Results Symptoms of current alcohol use disorders were present in 46 % of the male and 1 % of the female respondents. A multiple regression model revealed the unique contributions of emotional abuse in the families of origin and trauma experienced outside the family-context in the prediction of men’s alcohol-related symptoms. We found that alcohol consumption moderated the dose-effect relationship between trauma-exposure and symptoms of depression and PTSD. Significant interactions indicated that men who reported more alcohol-related problems experienced less increase in symptoms of PTSD and depression with increasing trauma-exposure. Conclusions The gradual attenuation of the dose-effect the more alcohol-related problems were reported is consistent with the self-medication hypothesis. Hence, the functionality of alcohol consumption has to be considered when designing and implementing addiction treatment in post-conflict contexts.
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Article Processing Charge funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Open Access Publication Fund of Bielefeld University.
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Ertl V, Saile R, Neuner F, Catani C. Drinking to ease the burden: a cross-sectional study on trauma, alcohol abuse and psychopathology in a post-conflict context. BMC Psychiatry. 2016;16(1): 202.
Ertl, V., Saile, R., Neuner, F., & Catani, C. (2016). Drinking to ease the burden: a cross-sectional study on trauma, alcohol abuse and psychopathology in a post-conflict context. BMC Psychiatry, 16(1): 202.
Ertl, V., Saile, R., Neuner, F., and Catani, C. (2016). Drinking to ease the burden: a cross-sectional study on trauma, alcohol abuse and psychopathology in a post-conflict context. BMC Psychiatry 16:202.
Ertl, V., et al., 2016. Drinking to ease the burden: a cross-sectional study on trauma, alcohol abuse and psychopathology in a post-conflict context. BMC Psychiatry, 16(1): 202.
V. Ertl, et al., “Drinking to ease the burden: a cross-sectional study on trauma, alcohol abuse and psychopathology in a post-conflict context”, BMC Psychiatry, vol. 16, 2016, : 202.
Ertl, V., Saile, R., Neuner, F., Catani, C.: Drinking to ease the burden: a cross-sectional study on trauma, alcohol abuse and psychopathology in a post-conflict context. BMC Psychiatry. 16, : 202 (2016).
Ertl, Verena, Saile, Regina, Neuner, Frank, and Catani, Claudia. “Drinking to ease the burden: a cross-sectional study on trauma, alcohol abuse and psychopathology in a post-conflict context”. BMC Psychiatry 16.1 (2016): 202.
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