Navigation Links
Veterans' alcohol problems linked to stress on the home front

Ann Arbor, MI, July 31, 2014 Regardless of traumatic events experienced during deployment, returning National Guard soldiers were more likely to develop a drinking problem if faced with civilian life setbacks, including job loss, legal problems, divorce, and serious financial and legal problems all commonplace in military families. Results of the study by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health are published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Alcohol abuse is a major concern for reservists returning home. Nearly 7% of Americans abuse or are dependent on alcohol, but among reserve soldiers returning from deployment, the rate of alcohol abuse is 14%, almost double that of the civilian population.

The study looked at a group of 1,095 Ohio National Guard soldiers, who had primarily served in either Iraq or Afghanistan in 2008 and 2009. Over three years, the soldiers were interviewed three times via telephone and were asked about their alcohol use, exposure to deployment-related traumatic events and stressors like land mines, vehicle crashes, taking enemy fire, and witnessing casualties, and any stress related to everyday life since returning from duty.

"Guardsmen who return home need help finding jobs, rebuilding their marriages and families, and reintegrating into their communities," says Karestan Koenen, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School and senior author of the study. "Too many of our warriors fall through the cracks in our system when they return home. This is particularly true of Guardsmen who do not have the same access to services as regular military personnel. We need to support our soldiers on the home front just as we do in the war zone."

More than half (60%) of the responding soldiers experienced combat-related trauma, 36% of soldiers experience civilian stressors, and 17% reported being sexually harassed during their most recent deployment. Among the group, 13% reported problems consistent with an alcohol use disorder in the first interview, 7% during the second, and 5% during the third. Alcohol use disorder is defined as alcohol abuse or dependence.

The researchers found having at least one civilian stressor or a reported incident of sexual harassment during deployment raised the odds of alcohol use disorders. The effect of the stressors was restricted to cases of new-onset alcohol use disorders, and was not seen among those with a history of problem drinking. In contrast, combat-related traumatic events were only marginally associated with alcohol problems.

The study highlights the important role civilian life and the accompanying stress play in cases of alcohol use disorder in the National Guard.

"Exposure to the traumatic event itself has an important effect on mental health in the short-term, but what defines long-term mental health problems is having to deal with a lot of daily life difficulties that arise in the aftermath when soldiers come home," explains lead investigator Magdalena Cerd, DrPH, MPH, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. "The more traumatic events soldiers are exposed to during and after combat, the more problems they are likely to have in their daily life in their relationships, in their jobs when they come home. These problems can in turn aggravate mental health issues, such as problems with alcohol that arise during and after deployment."

With high rates of alcohol abuse among soldiers, there is a critical need for targeted interventions to help soldiers handle stressful life events without alcohol, the investigators observe. More than 1.6 million service members have been deployed in support of war efforts Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn.


Contact: Angela J. Beck
Elsevier Health Sciences

Related medicine news :

1. Sagacious Consultants Supports Veterans Charities With $10,000 Donation
2. Lourdes Expands Military Partnership with Veterans
3. Interviews Veterans Benefits Attorney Shanin Specter about Recent VA Hospital Reports
4. UNCG School of Nursing Fast-Tracks Medically Trained Veterans
5. 17 U.S. Veterans, All Under One Roof, Recognized for Their Service
6. New Data on Lone Survivor Foundation’s Retreat Program Show Significantly Reduced PTSD Effects for Post 9/11 Service Members, Veterans and Their Families
7. Women veterans want options, follow up support when dealing with intimate partner violence
8. Veterans with muscle injuries and mental health conditions more likely to end service
9. Deployment-related respiratory symptoms in returning veterans
10. Veterans who identify as LGB could benefit from informed mental health services
11. Five-question clinical tool the first to help screen risk of violence in military veterans
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... PRMA Plastic Surgery is ... 2015, our surgeons performed their 6,000th free flap breast reconstruction surgery! , “What an ... every day excited to rebuild lives and it’s an honor to have served all ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Karnataka (PRWEB) , ... November ... ... innovative online platform for mental health and wellness consultation, has collaborated with ... to holistically address their reader’s queries on topics on mental and emotional ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... As part ... For Empowerment ™ attracts volunteers together who want to combine talents and resources ... key stakeholders in the process. The non-profit launched its first major fundraiser on ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... been recognized once again for its stellar workplace culture with the company’s Cincinnati ... , Medical Solutions’ Cincinnati office was named a finalist in Cincinnati Business ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... , ... Ministers, senior government and UN agencies, representatives from ... Excellence, and public R&D institutions, civil societies and other partners gathered today at ... Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation, ANDI, Stakeholders Meeting. The three- day meeting ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the  "2016 ... the European Therapeutic Drug Monitoring (TDM) ... Competitive Intelligence, Emerging Opportunities"  report to ... ) has announced the addition of ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , Nov. 26, 2015 Research ... addition of the "2016 Future Horizons and ... (TDM) Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, Competitive ... --> --> ... analysis of the Italian therapeutic drug monitoring market, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 ... the addition of the "Global Brain ... their offering. --> ) ... "Global Brain Monitoring Devices Market 2015-2019" ... Research and Markets ( ) has ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: