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Alcohol Abuse Surpassed PTSD in Troops
June 21, 2010
Chris M. Alexander
A recent study has shown that about one in eight returning soldiers suffers from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, other reports have shown that soldiers who were deployed in warzones were the most affected with alcohol abuse than PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder was less of a problem than alcohol related cases among both service men and women.
Alcohol abuse more of a problem for American Troops
Researchers from King’s College London said that, alcohol abuse levels are 22 percent more likely in the troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan than the troops having stationed at peace areas. Researchers also found that more than 13 percent of the soldiers consume alcohol in quantities much above the safe level for human health. The study, conducted on the British soldiers found British troops both men and women with more stable mental health conditions than their American counterparts where rates of post-traumatic stress disorder were found to be much higher.
Mental health problems increased in American servicemen and women
The findings, published in The Lancet medical journal, show that rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health problems have remained stable since 2003. This contrasts with American troops returning home from warzones, where a tidal wave of mental health problems has been reported in recent years.
Overall, approximately 13 percent of the respondents said that they were drinking alcohol in excessive quantities as defined by researchers as hazardous, according to the World Health Organization’s Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (Audit).
Shorter tours of duty for British troops compared to American troops
The researchers noted that Britain’s Army, Navy and RAF personnel however, served shorter tours of duty than their American counterparts, which “by luck or design” may have a protective effect on their mental health. The researchers noted that British troops served 6 months less compared with 15 months tour of duty for American troops.
No rise in post-traumatic stress
Nicola Fear, an author of the study from the college’s Academic Centre for Defence Mental Health, said that troops deployed to war zones, such as those from the Territorial Army, were more vulnerable to mental health problems than regular servicemen and women, while alcohol abuse were more amongst the frontline troops. She also found that rates of PTSD remained low among both groups, however, and that overall the mental and physical health of the Armed Forces was generally better than that of the general population.
“We are not seeing this tidal wave of mental health problems as was predicted and has been seen in the US,” she said.
Tags: Alcohol Abuse, Health
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Monday, June 21st, 2010 at
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