Members of GLBTQ community are being called on to take part in a research study on the link between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol and drug abuse.

Caused by exposure to traumatic events, PTSD causes an ongoing stress reaction in individuals, typified by unwanted memories of the event, being constantly on edge and negative emotions of anger and stress – which many choose to deal with by turning to drugs and alcohol.

There is little to no research that has been done into the rate of PTSD in the gay and lesbian community but, considering the effects of homophobia, gay bashings and other incidents experienced, it is assumed that levels would be at least equal to, if not greater than those found in the heterosexual population.

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) is encouraging people, who have trauma related stresses and are excessively drinking or using drugs to take part in this study so that more effective means of treatment can be established.

“Despite ongoing distress, people who have experienced trauma do not always seek help,” NDARC spokesperson Delphine Bostok-Matsuko said.

“This may be because of feelings like guilt, uncertainty about what is happening to them, or not knowing what help is out there for them.

“In these situations it is not uncommon for people to drink or take drugs in an attempt to ease their distress. However, the problem is that the relief alcohol or drugs provides is only temporary and symptoms often return stronger than ever.

“It is important to consider seeking help if trauma-related distress continues to affect people and their drinking or drug use in order to cope develops a life of its own. ”

Individuals partaking in the study will be offered proven, professional help at no cost and will have all of their details treated confidentially.

Contact Dr Kylie Sutherland, 9385 0183 or Alicia Visser on 9840 3361.

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