Purpose of Review
Research demonstrates a strong association between alcohol use disorder (AUD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, less is known about sex- and gender-based differences among individuals with AUD + PTSD. This narrative review examines recent literature in this area and aims to be a reference for future research endeavors.
Extant literature shows that intertwining biological systems increase females’ risk of developing PTSD and experiencing more adverse effects from AUD compared to males. Sex-based physiological differences further interact with gendered sociocultural environments to influence the risk of AUD + PTSD. Emerging research suggests potential gender-specific pathways between PTSD, coping, and AUD which may inform prevention and treatment. However, barriers to care are often gender-specific and tailored approaches are needed to improve reach and uptake.
Additional research is needed to examine intersectional and contextual factors that synergistically influence sex/gender differences in AUD + PTSD, particularly beyond cisgender identities, and mechanisms of action.