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Substance Use and Mental Health Trends Among U.S. Military Active Duty Personnel: Key Findings From the 2008 DoD Health Behavior Survey

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Military medicine (Impact Factor: 0.77). 06/2010; 175(6):390-9. DOI: 10.7205/MILMED-D-09-00132
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Examine substance use and mental health issues among U.S. military personnel.
Data were from the 2008 (and before) population-based Department of Defense Health Related Behavior Surveys. The sample size for the 2008 survey was 28,546 (70.6% response rate).
Analyses examined substance use, stress, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidal ideation and attempts, deployment, and job satisfaction. Trends show reductions in tobacco use and illicit drug use, but increases in prescription drug misuse, heavy alcohol use, stress, PTSD, and suicidal attempts. Deployment exacerbated some of these behavior changes. Despite the demanding lifestyle, job satisfaction was high.
The military has shown progress in decreasing cigarette smoking and illicit drug use. Additional emphasis should be placed on understanding increases in prescription drug misuse, heavy alcohol use, PTSD, and suicide attempts, and on planning additional effective interventions and prevention programs. Challenges remain in understanding and addressing military mental health needs.

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    • "In the current study, 6% of service members reported past-year suicidal ideation or suicide attempts, whereas 10–12% of respondents reported lifetime or current suicidal ideation in samples of National Guard members and veterans (Calabrese et al., 2011; Guerra et al., 2011). Twelve percent of our U.S. Army sample had PTSD, comparable to previous reports of 11–20% in other military samples (Bray et al., 2010; Hankin et al., 1999; Thomas et al., 2010). Thirty-four percent had depression, which is similar to rates of 23– 31% found in other military samples using a version of the CES-D (Hankin et al., 1999; Harbertson et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Suicide rates have risen considerably in the United States Army in the past decade. Suicide risk is highest among those with past suicidality (suicidal ideation or attempts). The incidence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depressive illnesses has risen concurrently in the U.S. Army. We examined the relationship of PTSD and depression, independently and in combination, and rates of past-year suicidality in a representative sample of U.S. Army soldiers. This study used the DoD Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Active Duty Military Personnel (DoD HRB) (N=5927). Probable PTSD and depression were assessed with the PTSD Checklist (PCL) and the 10-item short form of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), respectively. Past-year suicidality was assessed via self-report. Six percent of Army service members reported suicidality within the past year. PTSD and MDD were each independently associated with past-year suicidality. Soldiers with both disorders were almost three times more likely to report suicidality within the past year than those with either diagnosis alone. Population-attributable risk proportions for PTSD, depression, and both disorders together were 24%, 29%, and 45%, respectively. The current study is subject to the limitations of a cross-sectional survey design and the self-report nature of the instruments used. PTSD and depression are each associated with suicidality independently and in combination in the active duty component of the U.S. Army. Soldiers presenting with either but especially both disorders may require additional outreach and screening to decrease suicidal ideation and attempts.
    Journal of Affective Disorders 06/2014; 161:116-22. DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2014.03.016 · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    • "In the current study, 6% of service members reported past-year suicidal ideation or suicide attempts, whereas 10–12% of respondents reported lifetime or current suicidal ideation in samples of National Guard members and veterans (Calabrese et al., 2011; Guerra et al., 2011). Twelve percent of our U.S. Army sample had PTSD, comparable to previous reports of 11–20% in other military samples (Bray et al., 2010; Hankin et al., 1999; Thomas et al., 2010). Thirty-four percent had depression, which is similar to rates of 23– 31% found in other military samples using a version of the CES-D (Hankin et al., 1999; Harbertson et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Suicide rates have risen considerably in the United States Army in the past decade. Suicide risk is highest among those with past suicidality (suicidal ideation or attempts). The incidence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depressive illnesses has risen concurrently in the U.S. Army. We examined the relationship of PTSD and depression, independently and in combination, and rates of past-year suicidality in a representative sample of U.S. Army soldiers. Methods: This study used the DoD Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Active Duty Military Personnel (DoD HRB) (N=5927). Probable PTSD and depression were assessed with the PTSD Checklist (PCL) and the10item short form of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), respectively. Past-year suicidality was assessed via self-report. Results: Six percent of Army service members reported suicidality within the past year. PTSD and MDD were each independently associated with past-year suicidality. Soldiers with both disorders were almost three times more likely to report suicidality within the past year than those with either diagnosis alone. Population-attributable risk proportions for PTSD, depression, and both disorders together were 24%,29%, and 45%, respectively. Limitations: The current study is subject to the limitations of a cross-sectional survey design and the self-report nature of the instruments used. Conclusions: PTSD and depression are each associated with suicidality independently and in combination in the active duty component of the U.S. Army. Soldiers presenting with either but especially both disorders may require additional outreach and screening to decrease suicidal ideation and attempts.
    Journal of Affective Disorders 04/2014; 161:116-122. · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    • "The prevalence of smoking decreased in lower ranks between 1998 and 2004, by 5.1% in 20–24 year olds and 6.3% in 35–49 year olds . The Department of Defence Health Behaviour Survey of military personnel in the United States (US) shows that cigarette smoking declined from 1980 to 1998, significantly increased from 1998 to 2002, and has declined- since then [3]. "
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