Article

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

RTI International, 3040 Cornwallis Road, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194, USA.
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.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Laurel L Hourani
  • Source
    • "Emerging from an era of high operational tempo and rotating deployments, military personnel are still experiencing high levels of psychological concerns including posttraumatic stress symptoms, anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse (Bray et al. 2010; Hoge et al. 2004; Jacobson et al. 2008; Milliken et al. 2007). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this paper is to report on the development of a mental health stigma reduction toolkit and training, and the acceptability and level of stigma awareness following the stigma-reduction training for military personnel. The overall aims of the training were to provide discussion tools highlighting the experiences of Marines seeking help for stress concerns, improve communication between leaders and their Marines around the issue of help seeking, and familiarize Marines with behavioral health treatment. Senior enlisted leaders and officers (N = 52) from a Marine Corps battalion participated in a pretest, 2-h stigma-reduction training and immediate posttest. Acceptability of the training was measured by querying participants about the usefulness and helpfulness of the training among other factors, and stigma awareness was measured with 10 items about mental health stigma. The stigma-reduction training and materials were well accepted by participants. In addition, there was a significant improvement in four of ten stigma-reduction awareness concepts measured before and immediately after the training, which included an increase in agreement that mental health treatments are usually effective in reducing stress reactions [t(51) = -3.35, p = 0.002], and an increase in disagreement that seeking counseling after a deployment will jeopardize future deployments [t(51) = -3.05, p = 0.004]. Level of agreement with several statements including those regarding perceptions of invincibility, and malingering, among others, did not change significantly after the training. The stigma-reduction training containing educational and contact strategies was highly acceptable to the leaders and may have promise for initially dispelling myths associated with seeking help for stress concerns among military service members; however, results indicate that there is clearly more work to be done in combatting stigma.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · SpringerPlus
  • Source
    • "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). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of Affective Disorders
  • Source
    • "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). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Journal of Affective Disorders
Show more