Navigation Links
Drinking Problems Greater Among Returning Combat Veterans
Date:8/12/2008

Mental health issues also more common after war, studies show,,,,

TUESDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A host of new studies confirm that the effects of war linger long after the conflict ends.

The Aug. 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association is a special themed issue on violence and human rights, and three studies published in that issue found that various mental health issues, such as alcohol misuse and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), were more common after exposure to violent conflicts. The one bright spot was a study that found suicide rates weren't higher for returning combat veterans.

The first study found that veterans coming home from combat were 63 percent more likely to report new-onset heavy drinking than were military personnel that hadn't been deployed to combat zones.

"Our study found that combat deployment in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was significantly associated with new-onset heavy weekly drinking, binge drinking, and other alcohol-related problems among Reserve/Guard and younger personnel after return from deployment," wrote the study's authors, who represent various branches of the U.S. military, including the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego.

"Because alcohol use may serve as a coping mechanism after traumatic events, it is plausible that deployment is associated with increased rates of alcohol consumption or problem drinking," the researchers suggested.

Their study included nearly 50,000 military personnel: 26,613 were active duty and 21,868 were Reserve or National Guard. Most -- 37,310 -- were not deployed, while 5,661 were deployed, but in non-combat areas. Just over 5,500 were deployed into combat zones.

New-onset rates of heavy weekly drinking were 8.8 percent after combat deployment, according to the study. Rates of new-onset binge drinking were 25.6 percent for combat veterans returning home, and new-onset alcohol-related problems were 7.1 percent.

Young soldiers had the highest risk for developing alcohol-related outcomes, and Reserve and National Guard members returning from combat had higher rates of new-onset heavy drinking than soldiers from other military branches, according to the study.

"I think this study is probably very accurate. As part of the re-entry process, people will turn to coping mechanisms that are easily accessible, and alcohol is easily available, socially acceptable and quite effective for short-term stress relief," said Jeffrey T. Parsons, chair of the department of psychology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, in New York City. Parsons added that long-term use of alcohol as a coping mechanism can lead to numerous negative outcomes.

He recommended that returning soldiers try to immediately rebuild their support networks. If a deployment has lasted awhile, Parsons pointed out that friends and family members may have moved or just drifted away. "Surround yourself with people you can talk to and establish a support system that isn't tied to a bar," he advised.

Parsons added that being a soldier doesn't mean that you have to be devoid of emotions, and that asking for help isn't a sign of weakness. And, he added, this study may trigger awareness campaigns for military personnel that could "have a huge effect, and it could lead people to treatment on their own." He added that if the military were to develop some kind of routine psychological screening for returning veterans, it "would be a real and clear indication that they valued and respected the contribution of these people."

Another study, this one published as a letter in the same issue of the journal, offers some good news about the mental health of returning combat veterans. This study found there were no statistically significant differences in the rates of suicide between U.S. veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan compared to the U.S. population as a whole.

Two other studies in the same issue looked at former child soldiers in Nepal and in people who fought in the Liberian civil wars who experienced sexual violence. In both groups, researchers found higher rates of PTSD symptoms and depression. Thoughts of suicide were also higher in Liberians who had been exposed to sexual violence.

More information

To learn more about alcohol abuse, visit the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.



SOURCES: Jeffrey T. Parsons, Ph.D., professor and chair, department of psychology, Hunter College, and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, New York City; Aug. 13, 2008, Journal of the American Medical Association


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Fall Semester - A Time for Parents to Discuss the Risks of College Drinking
2. Americans Drinking Less Alcohol
3. Drinking in excess associated with increased risk for metabolic syndrome
4. Hurricane preparedness survey: Worries about drinking water and medical care
5. Research Finds Causal Link Between Ending Drinking, Depression
6. Hydra Booster Energizes Ordinary Drinking Water for Better Absorption and Optimum Hydration, Stopping Symptoms of 'Hidden' Dehydration
7. Binge drinking tied to conditions in the college environment
8. Tough Underage Drinking Laws Saving Lives
9. Pediatrics review of underage drinking prevention programs led by Iowa State researcher
10. Binge drinking due to copying behavior
11. Hazardous Drinking More Common Than Thought
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Drinking Problems Greater Among Returning Combat Veterans
(Date:2/5/2016)... UT (PRWEB) , ... February 05, 2016 , ... Today, ... Nutrition , announced that the much-anticipated feature with author Jahnavi Foster, specialist in healthy ... Amateur TV Network. , Each week, on his weekly Whole-Food Warrior TV show, Frank ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... MN (PRWEB) , ... February 05, 2016 , ... The ... at the Day Block Event Center in Minneapolis, Minn. Triumph Over Parkinson’s will fund ... Larry Schneiderman, owner of Schneiderman’s Furniture, lives with Parkinson’s disease and is the architect ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... Francisco Canales, MD and Heather ... Napa Valley office. The technique utilizes the body’s own healing abilities to quickly ... Furnas, are part of only a select few cosmetic surgeons bringing this procedure ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... Freed-Hardeman University President Joe A. ... a joint enrollment and degree completion agreement. The agreement, which begins with ... at FHU|Dickson. , The agreement allows students to be jointly admitted to ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... The Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) ... and serving the lymphoma community through a comprehensive series of education programs, outreach ... Wine Tasting Event at the La Gorce Country Club in Miami Beach on ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/5/2016)... 5, 2016  Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE and ... announced underwritten secondary offering of 11,027,558 shares of its ... affiliates of Blackstone and Goldman Sachs.  The shares are ... of $96.45 per share. The selling stockholders will receive ... Biomet nor any of its directors, officers or other ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... 2016 Site Profile: --> ... - The Speech Recognition People, announced their latest primary healthcare case ... care, reduce turnaround times and to save the practice money. ... since 2013 Challenge: --> ,- Wirral CCG ... - Six doctors ,- Wirral CCG ,- VoicePower client since 2013 ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... For hospitals considering enrollment in the Federal ... the program, the Health Resources and Services Administration,s (HRSA) ... Mega-Guidance , could have significant impact on plans and ... 2016. Essential Insights , Daniel Neal, ... the Mega-Guidance,s key proposed changes, including a new requirement ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: