Military veterans have a substantially increased risk of experiencing alcoholism and qualifying for a diagnosis of alcohol abuse or alcoholism than the general population. A personalized intervention focused on military personnel is often needed to support individuals who struggle with alcohol abuse issues.
Veterans and Alcohol
Servicemen and servicewomen on activity duty consume alcohol at higher rates than civilian counterparts. Military personnel have a higher rate of participation in binge drinking, defined as episodes of rapid alcohol consumption which produces legal drunkenness within a few hours. Several factors may explain this including a tradition of drinking in the military, lack of access to other forms of getting high and the degree to which military life exposes individuals to combat and other dangerous or stress-inducing circumstances which lead to use of alcohol as a coping mechanism.
An alcohol intervention is a relatively short procedure intended to help doctors and other trained practitioners identify possible markers for current or future problems with alcohol. Some interventions last a few minutes while others require several brief sessions. A personalized intervention is one which is geared toward an individual recipient rather than the general public. During a personalized intervention, a participant receives such things as information on issues associated with drinking, an exploration of social norms which drive behavior and reviews of the individual’s history of alcohol-related harm.
Usefulness of a Personal Intervention
A study published recently used data from 325 veterans of recent military service to gauge effectiveness of personalized alcohol interventions. Half of the participants received a personalized intervention, the other half received more general information on consequences of risky alcohol use. The members of both groups took part in follow-up sessions which examined drinking behaviors one month and six months after receiving a personalized intervention or general information. After the results were analyzed, researchers concluded that veterans who continued to drink, blood alcohol levels found in the group with personalized interventions were not significantly higher or lower than those of the group with more general alcohol-related information.
Veterans who stopped drinking after receiving an intervention, however, had higher chances of remaining alcohol-free after six months than those who received generic intervention. The metrics, therefore, demonstrate the ability of individualized intervention programs to target personalized needs rather than focus on a general tactic for treatment of alcoholism or substance abuse. Military personnel require individualized approaches to treatment due to the specific nature of the illness itself. It is difficult to generalize an individual’s experience with alcoholism who has been through traumatic military experiences which impact physical, mental and spiritual health. A comprehensive, personalized approach is the best way to support military personnel with recovery that is long lasting.
If you or a loved one are a member of the military struggling with alcohol or substance abuse issues, help is available. We can help you find a program which suits your specific needs and provide support, resources and tools along the way. Call Hired Power to find out more.