This article on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) discusses PTSD as a contributing factor in other risky health behaviors. From the article: "PTSD is associated with increased morbidity, utilization of medical care services, and premature death. The proclivity of individuals with PTSD to engage in behaviors with adverse health consequences likely contributes to these associations, along with dysregulated neuroendocrine and immune system pathways, genetic vulnerabilities, maladaptive psychological states, and learned illness behavior (Boscarino, 2004, 2006; Schnurr & Jankowski, 1999). This review summarizes key papers linking PTSD with the three leading causes of morbidity and mortality in United States [smoking; alcohol and drug use; poor diet and physical inactivity]. [...] Many questions remain unanswered about how to best provide health-habit interventions for individuals with PTSD. These include questions about the timing and sequencing of interventions and whether (and how) standard health-promotion interventions should be tailored to accommodate special needs of individuals with PTSD. In the meantime, research supports the general principle of delivering concurrent (or closely proximate) treatment for PTSD and associated risk behaviors. Ideally, care of both conditions should be integrated into the clinical activities of a single provider team, in order to minimize barriers associated with referral to outside consultants that undermine treatment adherence. Remission of addictive disorders in veterans with PTSD is associated with providing treatment sessions of greater numbers and duration. The effectiveness of interventions for obesity, physical inactivity, and other health-risk behaviors common in PTSD remains undetermined."
National Center for PTSD: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/
PTSD Research Quarterly (Fall 2006), v.17 no.4