Even as our troops are leaving Iraq, there are still many military personnel serving overseas in dangerous situations. So it is timely that a new study on combat related substance use and abuse will be undertaken to look at this growing problem. The study, funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), marks an innovative federal partnership that will work to benefit returning military personnel.
More than $6 million in federal funding will be spread out among 11 research institutions in 11 states to support research on substance abuse and associated problems among U.S. military personnel, veterans and their families. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of NIH, is collaborating with VA to award grants that will examine substance abuse related to deployment and combat-related trauma. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are also NIH partners in this endeavor.
Most of the research is directed at substance abuse and related conditions experienced by veterans returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is a growing awareness that military personnel returning from these conflict areas have a variety of serious problems, including the following:
Some face these and other diverse symptoms as a result of traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Disorders such as PTSD can lead to substance abuse, as sufferers may be hesitant to seek professional help and may attempt to self-medicate. Substance abuse, physical trauma and mental trauma are interconnected and all contribute to individual health and family relationship crises.
Despite the growing problem of substance use and abuse among military personnel in combat situations and afterwards, there has been little research on how to prevent and treat co-occurring wartime-related substance use and mental health disorder issues. Experts hope these current and future studies can shed light on the best way to treat or prevent the problem in the future.
Call our toll-free number and learn more about current research on PTSD and substance abuse problems. Our trained counselors are available 24 hours a day and can connect you to treatment and recovery resources. Call now and get the help you need.