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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Veterans More Likely to Seek Help

Alcohol use is fairly common among veterans of every branch of the armed forces for a number of reasons. Heavy stress, post-traumatic stress, depression, and anxiety are often the most common reasons for heavy substance use. Fortunately, there are a number of programs available for veterans, and those in active service, to seek help for their problems.

As a result, a new study presented at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting has shown that male veterans with a history of substance abuse are more likely than civilians to seek treatment; they are also more likely to report better overall health, and to be less depressed.

The study showed that: 

29 percent of veterans with substance abuse issues under the age of 50 sought treatment. 

17 percent of civilians with substance abuse issues under the age of 50 sought treatment. 

15 percent of veterans who drank heavily into their 30s reported being depressed. 

35 percent of civilians reported depression. 

“The findings suggest not only that Veterans Affairs treatment is available to help young veterans who have a history of heavy drinking, but that it is an effective service outreach to young veterans that can improve their health and overall quality of life,” said researcher Katherine Karriker-Jaffe, PhD. “Those younger veterans without alcohol or drug problems may benefit from additional outreach from targeted services to improve their mental and physical health.”

What is substance abuse or heavy drinking?

According to the study, heavy drinking is having five or more drinks at a time, at least once a week. 

Veterans of foreign wars are more likely to engage in heavy use of substance abuse, according to the research. Non-deployed soldiers were less likely to engage in such behavior which is probably due to lower levels of stress. The study clearly shows that modern Veterans are more likely to seek help than those from conflicts of the past, testament to the fact that there are many more programs at their disposal in this day and age.

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