Military wives more likely to abuse alcohol, suffer mental illnesses

Military wives more likely to abuse alcohol, suffer mental illnesses

For most people, it is often hard to maintain a perfect work-life balance, and it is harder in case of military families. A military spouse often encounters both personal and institutional challenges. Frequent relocations, erratic schedules and continuous deployments adversely affect the lives of military personnel and their family members.

As per a recent study released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in November 2016, military wives are more likely to experience mental illness and abuse alcohol. The study relies on data collected from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

As per Kana Enomoto, principal deputy administrator of SAMHSA, it is extremely important to take all measures to meet the behavioral healthcare needs of military wives and children. The study will benefit SAMHSA and others in developing better-designed programs to address issues affecting military wives and children. According to experts, the hardships faced by military families place them at a higher risk for mental health problems and substance abuse.

Military wives suffer higher risk of binge drinking

As per the study, binge drinking for a woman comprised drinking four or more drinks per sitting. The study said that in the past 30 days, compared to 22.7 percent of the general population, 31.5 percent military wives aged 18 to 49 years reported binge drinking. It said that one of the reasons why military wives may report higher rates of alcohol abuse could be a relatively younger population of military spouses.

Regarding mental health, the report found that as compared with 19.7 percent of women married to civilians, 29.1 percent of military wives aged 18 to 49 years suffered some kind of mental illness within the past year and about 23 percent received treatment for their problems. In case of major depressive episodes, as compared with 7.3 percent of all wives, 11.8 percent military wives aged 18 to 49 years had a major depressive episode.

Mental health issues experienced by military personnel

As per a 2014 study, published in the JAMA Psychiatry, nearly one out of four active duty army soldiers showed signs of a mental problem. Military personnel are known to take care of their physical health, but recent years have seen servicemen and servicewomen face a range of mental issues.

Recent years have also seen a change in military policies to encourage better mental health. As per the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the three primary health concerns of military personnel are depression, traumatic brain injury (TBA) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

  • Depression: The causes of depression in active military life may be attributed to traumatic events or stressful situations. As per a 2014 study, the rate of depression in the military was five times higher than among civilians.
  • Traumatic brain injury: Traumatic brain injury often occurs due to a severe blow to the head. It can occur during accidents, blasts or due to an impact during recreational activities. It affects the ability to think and includes symptoms like memory problem, drowsiness and mood swings.
  • PTSD: It can be caused due to traumatic events, such as natural disaster, terrorist attack, war or violent assault. This can trigger alcohol and drug abuse and can also lead to other health complications.

Help at hand

Being a military spouse is tough. In addition to dealing with extended absences from home, a military spouse has to deal with other risks as well.

If you or someone you know is suffering from any kind of mental illness, contact Sovereign Mental Health Services to access the best mental health facilities in California. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 or chat online with our mental health experts to know about our mental health rehabilitation centers in California and other states.

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