Veterans Representing Mental Health Issues Have High Substance Abuse Levels

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Veterans of wars who are suffering from mental health issues such as schizophrenia are far more likely than other sufferers to have a substance addiction, according to a new study.

The study was led by Ismene Petrakis MD. She and her researchers at Yale University of Medicine have sifted through data provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to determine their findings.

The information relates to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, who were observed and diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other disorders psychiatric in origin.

One Million

A massive 1,001,996 of the veteran patients who had data pertaining to their state, had already been diagnosed with either one or more of six different mental disorders.

Of this million persons more than a quarter of a million individuals had a substance abuse issue. Those with either bipolar disorder or schizophrenia were found to have the highest prevalence of substance abuse.

Program Planning

Ismene believes that her findings may be beneficial in defining program planning, and for bettering the understanding of the needs of these veterans.

Different Eras

She spoke also of the different eras these soldiers fought in and believes that there are different needs based on these different eras also. She points to the recent conflicts, where it seems conclusive from the data that their mental disorders are in need of services that would address a co-morbid substance use disorder.

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