The prevalence of binge drinking and receipt of provider drinking advice among US veterans with military service in Iraq or Afghanistan.
BACKGROUND: Binge drinking is a significant public health concern linked to a number of health and psychosocial problems. Military service in Afghanistan (OEF) and Iraq (OIF) has been associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and increased hazardous drinking. Brief alcohol interventions may reduce hazardous drinking but are infrequently provided to at-risk drinkers. OBJECTIVES: This study examined the association of combat exposure, PTSD symptoms, binge drinking, use of VA and non-VA healthcare services, and the incidence of provider drinking advice. METHODS: OEF/OIF veterans (n = 1087) completed measures of demographics, military history, combat exposure, PTSD symptoms, and binge drinking as part of a confidential mail survey study conducted in 2009 and 2010 (response rate = 29%). Patient report of receiving advice in the past year from a provider about their drinking was queried for frequent binge drinkers. The association of demographic variables, combat exposure, PTSD, and use of healthcare services with binge drinking and receipt of provider drinking advice was estimated using logistic regression. RESULTS: Overall, 51% of the sample reported at least one episode of binge drinking in the past year and 19% were identified as frequent binge drinkers. PTSD was related to frequent binge drinking. At-risk veterans using VA healthcare services were significantly more likely to receive provider drinking advice (50%) than veterans not using VA (13.4%). CONCLUSIONS: There is a need for increased vigilance and action to identify and counsel at-risk veterans about alcohol misuse in this population.
Calhoun, PS; Schry, AR; Wagner, HR; Kimbrel, NA; Dennis, P; McDonald, SD; Beckham, JC; Dedert, EA; Kudler, H; Straits-Troster, K
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