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Veterans' alcohol problems linked to stress on the home front
Date:7/30/2014

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.
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Contact: Angela J. Beck
ajpmmedia@elsevier.com
734-764-8775
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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