A new research presented today at the American Public Health Association’s 140th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California showed male military veterans with history of heavy alcohol use are more likely to get into treatment than their civilian counterparts.
The study found that 29 percent of veterans under 50 years old who reported a long history of heavy alcohol use sought treatment for alcohol dependence compared with just 17 percent of their civilian counterparts, the Newswise reports.
The National Institutes of Health-funded research also reveals younger veterans who report a history of heavy drinking in their 30s have better overall health and experience less depression than veterans who did not report heavy drinking in their 30s.
“The findings suggest not only that Veterans Affairs treatment is available to help young veterans who have a history of heavy drinking, but that it is an effective service outreach to young veterans that can improve their health and overall quality of life,” said Katherine Karriker-Jaffe, PhD, researcher at the Public Health Institute and APHA Annual Meeting presenter. “Those younger veterans without alcohol or drug problems may benefit from additional outreach from targeted services to improve their mental and physical health.”
For the purpose of the study, heavy drinking was defined as drinking five or more drinks at a time at least once a week. The researchers analyzed results from the 2010 National Alcohol Survey. They concluded that interventions targeting drinking norms in younger veterans can help further reduce heavy drinking, and paying attention to older veterans’ heavy drinking may be warranted to avoid long-term health consequences.