Around 33,000 British men and women who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan are turning to alcohol to cope with combat-related stress, according to a recent study by researchers.
The statistic means that one in five formerly deployed military personnel are drinking at “harmful levels” according to the study undertaken by academics at King’s College London.
Soldiers deployed in direct battlefield combat stood at a greater chance of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The which the researchers described their findings as “alarming.”
In addition to alcohol abuse, around one in seven service personnel attack someone – often wives of partners – in anger after returning from the combat zone.
However, British soldiers were “more resilient” at dealing with after-combat stress than U.S. troops, where the rate of PTSD stands at 29 percent, the study added.
A Defence Ministry spokesperson said the Government had committed $12.3 million (£7.4million) to improve the mental health of service personnel.
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“We are not complacent. We want to further reduce the stigma of mental illness and continue to better services,” said the spokesperson.
Studies such as this are an alarming look at the horrors of war and what they can do to a person when faced with it. The mental health of those returning from war needs to be looked at head-on and discussed at great length so it is dealt with in a forward-thinking and progressive way. Turning soldiers away from alcohol and onto better outlets will promote an improved outcome. There have been studies conducted that show medical marijuana as helping in stress levels, this may be a good alternative to alcohol, and marijuana delivery is on hand for soldiers if they are house-bound for any reason. Mental health should never be brushed over, people should know that there is always help out there for them.
The study has been published today in the journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps.