Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment Barriers: Military Life vs. Civilian Life

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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment Barriers:
Military Life vs. Civilian Life
Marina Herrera
Butte College

Abstract

This paper explores the interesting relationship between substance abuse and mental health problems among military and civilian life. As well as stigma barriers to treatment within a military vs. a civilian setting. The article “Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment in the Military: Lessons Learned and a Way Forward” written by Katie Witkiewitz and Armando Estrada takes a look at the treatment barriers and how they are not necessarily unique to military settings and/or civilian settings. They also explore how the military setting itself can help destigmatize substance abuse and mental health problems if barriers to treatment are removed.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment Barriers:
Military Life vs. Civilian Life
The United States currently has military personal deployed in 150 countries, about 75% of the World’s Nations. Thirty percent of troops returning from Iraq, 300,000 in all, have reported symptoms relating to mental health problems, and/or substance abuse however only about half have sought treatment; why is this? This article, “Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment in the Military: Lessons Learned and a Way Forward” explores this question. It’s an interesting fact to say that the rate of substance abuse among military personal and civilians are very similar. Seventy percent of deployed personal reported drinking an average of three drinks a day and 2.9 days of binge drinking within the past thirty days. Similarly, seventy-nine percent of male civilians reported drinking an average of 4.24 drinks a day and 3.4 days of binge drinking within the past thirty days. While alcohol abuse stays consistent between civilians and military personal, illicit drug abuse doesn’t comply. Only two percent of active duty has reported illicit drug abuse, while the civilian population is estimated almost nine...
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