Treating Alcoholism in Veterans
Intervention Design Project
This paper will analyze the dangers of alcoholism to those in the military and the troubles with treatment once discharged. Current treatment options including AA, drug therapy, and counseling will be discussed as well as the importance of prevention. New methods of treating veterans with alcoholism will be analyzed. Treating Alcoholism in Veterans
Alcohol has been around for hundreds of thousands of years and has been historically used for food, reward, medicine, a solvent for opiates, a sacrament, a water substitute, a social lubricant and a tranquilizer (Inaba & Cohen, 2011). Currently alcohol is primarily used for recreational purposes to lower inhibitions, increase scalability, lower pain tolerance, and as an appetite stimulator. As long as there has been alcohol there have been people who abuse it. Alcoholism was initially thought of as a social disorder and a moral weakness and it has only recently been viewed as a disease. Alcohol dependency is an addiction that can occur in anyone. It does not discriminate against race, sexual orientation, religion or geographic location. The major health and psychiatric problems associated with alcohol abuse are neurologic impairment, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, major depression, dysthymia, mania, hypomania, panic disorder, phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, personality disorders, any drug use disorder, schizophrenia, and suicide (Cargiulo, 2007). Considering the great number of health risks involved in alcoholism, any treatment that reduces or eliminates the consumption of alcohol will be associated with reductions in mortality and morbidity. The individual symptoms and the patterns of drinking vary greatly from person to person making alcohol dependency a very complex disorder. Current treatment options for alcoholics include programs like AA, counseling, and prescription drug treatment. Potential future developments for alcoholism treatment include medications development, behavioral therapy, advances in technology, integrated care of patients, and a combination of treatments designed for the individual (Huebner & Kantor, 2010). Alcoholics usually know they have a problem long before they seek help. With the help of family intervention, screening for symptoms for alcohol abuse, guided self-help programs, and e-health options, alcoholics can privately seek help without the stigma of being labeled an alcoholic (Heubner & Kantor, 2010).
Drinking and the military
Heavy drinking causes symptoms such as clumsiness, decreased alertness, mental confusion, loss of judgment, slurred speech, and an inability to walk (Inaba & Cohen, 2011). For someone on active military duty, experiencing any of these negative side effects while on the job could put countless people in danger. For this reason the military strongly enforces a zero tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol. In the past, the protocol for alcohol abuse in the military was focused on treatment, rehabilitation and then re-enlistment. Currently the military emphasizes four major program areas to combat drug and alcohol abuse. The programs in place are “assessment, deterrence and detection, treatment and rehabilitation and education and training” (Bray et al, 1992). These programs are great for controlling alcohol abuse while serving in the military but does nothing for helping people once they return home. When someone is discharged from the military they are suppose to be screened by a health care provider, however there currently isn’t enough done to help veterans with physical and emotional problems that could lead to alcoholism (Maguen et al., 2010). Often doctors will notice a problem, but are unwilling or unable to take action to help. In a study by Maguen, Vogt, King, Litz, Knight & Marmar (2011), it was discovered that the rate of alcohol abuse by veterans was significantly higher...
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