Traumatic neurosis from Viet Nam combat or other sources includes many
symptoms that can be effectively self-medicated with alcohol, at least
initially. These symptoms include chronic anxiety and restlessness,
insomnia, and recurrent frightening dreams. Repeated self-medication with
alcohol results in tolerance and a need to increase the amount consumed.
Attempts to decrease consumption or to abstain can lead to alcohol
withdrawal symptoms similar to and exacerbating the initial symptoms of
traumatic neurosis. Continuing alcohol use, with the establishment of a
vicious circle, can follow. The authors present three case examples. They
note that treatment of alcoholism under the conditions described requires
specific attention to the underlying traumatic neurosis.