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

1259 Words May 13th, 2013 6 Pages
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment Barriers:
Military Life vs. Civilian Life
Marina Herrera
Butte College


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
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Hoge, Auchterllonie and Miliken (2006) estimated mental health problems among troops returning from Iraq at around 30%, 7% suffering from depression, 7.5% suffering from anxiety disorders, and 12% suffering from PTSD. Kessler, Chiu, Demler, and Walters (2005) estimated 26% of American adults suffer from mental disorders, 6.7% suffering from depression, 18% suffering from a type of anxiety order and approximately 25% suffering from PTSD.
According to Clinton-Sherrod, Barrick and Gibbs (2011) research found that only 4% of those at risk for alcohol abuse were enrolled in treatment (2% referred by the Post-Deployment Health Reassessment) and 30% of military personnel at risk for mental health problems were enrolled (14% referred by PDHRA). These statistics don’t differ much from the treatment of the civilian population. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2009) 8.1% of those who needed substance abuse treatment received it. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1999) fewer than 30% of those adults who were suffering from a diagnosable mental health disorder received treatment. These statistic show that treatment has been successful, although the referral and enrollment process seems to be more effective in helping those with mental health problems rather than substance abuse in both veteran and civilian populations.
There are many
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