Ptsd and Alcoholism

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Proposal: Qualitative Research
The Impacts of PTSD and Alcoholism and Treatment Options among Gulf War Veterans
GRAD 716
Sullivan University
Brent Casey
January 21, 2011

The Impacts of PTSD and Alcoholism and Treatment Options among Gulf War Veterans
The purpose of this paper is to investigate and analyze the lived experiences of Gulf War veterans who are in treatment or recovering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and alcoholism. Approximately 697,000 U.S. veterans served in the Persian Gulf War, and more than 263,000 have since sought medical care at the Department of Veterans Affairs (National Gulf War Resource Center, Inc.,*, 2002). Over 185,000 Gulf War veterans have filed claims with the Veterans Administration for service-related medical disabilities, including significant physical and psychological distress that they attribute to their participation in the operation. Perhaps the most unusual consequence of serving in the Persian Gulf is Gulf War Illness. According to Hendrix & Anelli (1993) a greater understanding of the long-term effects of war service on veterans and their families is needed due to U.S. forces recently serving in hostile environments. As with most combat experiences, there are numerous psychological difficulties related to participation in the Gulf War. According to the Veterans Administration website, depressed mood, anxiety, and related psychological symptoms (e.g., sleep difficulties, concentration problems) are quite common among GW veterans, and deployed GW veterans have more symptoms of depression, anxiety, and alcohol abuse than non-deployed GW veterans (Iowa Persian Gulf Study Group, 1997).

Problem Statement
This research proposes to examine and analyze the impacts of PTSD and alcoholism among Gulf War veterans recovering from these comorbidities. The research additionally proposes to investigate and study treatment options which may be helpful to Gulf War veterans.

Review of the Literature
PTSD is defined as “veterans who meet DSM-IV criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often experience comorbid depression, alcohol use, and poor health (Yarvis & Scheiss, 2008, p. 395). According to Yarvis & Scheiss (2008), PTSD symptoms are associated with (1) physical health problems (Beckham et al., 1989; Engel, Liu, McCarthy, Miller, & Ursano, 2000; Kimerling, Clum, Wolfe, 2000; Wagner et al., 2000; Zatick, Marmur, & Weiss, 1997); (2) psychological impairment; (3) pain and pain-related disability (Beckham et al., 1997); (4) poor functional outcomes (Kimerling et al., 2000; Wagner et al., 2000); and (5) increased healthcare consumption (Marshell, Jorm, & Grayson, 1998); and is associated with increased alcohol consumption (Brown & Wolfe, 1994; Grice, Brady, & Dustan, 1995; Zlotnick, Warshew, & Shea, 1999). Southwick, Gilmartin, McDonough & Morrissey, (2006) expanded these by adding that many veterans with PTSD live with profound doubts about the meaning of a life dominated by suffering, guilt, and death and pronounced effects on all areas of psychosocial functioning as well as open discussion about struggles with existentialism. (Steindl, Young, Creamer & Crompton, 2003, p. 27) note “the coexistence of alcohol misuse with combat-related PTSD is well established (Stewart, 1996). Alcoholism

Flavin & Morse (1991) define alcoholism as “a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial (Morse & Flavin in submission 1991)”. Southwick, Gilmartin, McDonough...
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