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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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