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Military Health System

Prescription Stimulants and PTSD Among U. S. Military Service Members.

Publication Status: Published

Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)

Sponsoring Office: Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences

Congressionally Mandated: No

Funding Source:

Release Date/Publication: December 01, 2015

Principle Investigator Status: Government

Primary DoD Data Source: Millenium Cohort Study

Secondary DoD Data Source:


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a prevalent condition among military service members and civilians who have experienced traumatic events. Stimulant use has been postulated to increase the risk of incident PTSD; however, research in this area is lacking. In this study, the association between receipt of prescription stimulants and PTSD was examined in a secondary analysis among active duty U.S. military members (n = 25,971), participating in the Millennium Cohort Study, who completed a baseline (2001-2003) and two follow-up surveys (between 2004-2008). Prescription stimulant data were obtained from the military Pharmacy Data Transaction Service. PTSD was assessed using the PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version and incident PTSD was defined as meeting the criteria at follow-up among those who did not have a history of PTSD at baseline. Overall, 1,215 (4.7%) persons developed new-onset PTSD during follow-up. Receipt of prescription stimulants were significantly associated with incident PTSD, hazard ratio = 5.09, 95% confidence interval [3.05, 8.50], after adjusting for sociodemographic factors, military characteristics, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, baseline mental and physical health status, deployment experiences, and physical/sexual trauma. Findings suggested that prescription stimulants are associated with incident PTSD among military personnel; these data may inform the underlying pathogenesis of and preventive strategies for PTSD.


Crum-Cianflone NF, Frasco MA, Armenta RF, Phillips CJ, Horton J, Ryan MA, Russell DW, LeardMann C. Prescription Stimulants and PTSD Among U. S. Military Service Members. J Trauma Stress. 2015 Dec;28(6):585-9.

Last Updated: February 21, 2019
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