AIMS: To explore patterns of alcohol misuse in a sample of treatment-seeking veterans compared to the UK Armed Forces personnel population and the general public. Furthermore, the present study investigated which variables were associated with alcohol misuse in this sample, and in particular what factors were associated with increased or decreased severity of alcohol misuse.
METHOD: The present study investigated alcohol misuse in treatment-seeking veterans and compared it with the UK Armed Forces and the general public. In addition, it explored associations between sociodemographic, physical health and mental health variables and alcohol misuse.
RESULTS: Results suggested that treatment-seeking veterans report different patterns of alcohol misuse compared to the UK Armed Forces and the general public. This group was more likely to report alcohol dependence and alcohol-related harm. They also reported higher levels of overall alcohol misuse than the general public. Mental health problems including PTSD, anxiety and depression, as well as anger, functional impairment and being single were all related to greater alcohol misuse. Being older and not in work were related to reduced alcohol misuse.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings add further weight to the importance of ensuring appropriate support is provided to personnel leaving the Armed Forces. Treatment-seeking veterans have specific patterns of alcohol-related needs that should be addressed. Knowing more about the common alcohol-related problems in this group can help inform and improve mental health interventions. Findings on related variables will help in identifying those individuals who may be at most risk of alcohol-related problems.
- Journal Article