Researchers show why mental illness risk is higher among former military personnel

Researchers at the University of Liverpool scoured through the data of almost 3,000 veterans from a large-scale cohort study based in the United Kingdom.

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Males who served in the armed forces are more likely than males in the general population to suffer from a mental condition, according to a study published in the journal Psychological Medicine.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Liverpool, scoured through the data of almost 3,000 veterans from a large-scale cohort study based in the United Kingdom.

In the study, consequences from deployment and military service among British troops to the Middle East were assessed, including substance misuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other common mental conditions.

From their analysis of the data, researchers determined that the UK-based veterans who deployed overseas to Arabic nations in conflict, like Afghanistan or Iraq, had substantially higher instances of common mental health disorders (CMD) compared to the general population. PTSD and alcohol misuse were also observed at higher rates.

When the results were broken down by gender, male veterans were significantly more prevalent at developing a mental health condition as a result of their deployment. Disability and employment adversities are also associated with an increased risk of mental illness among veterans.

“Despite the majority adapting well to civilian life there appears to be a higher prevalence of mental health problems in male veterans compared to males in the general population and therefore an increased need for mental health support,” said Laura Goodwin, the study’s lead author.

“This work has shown that both male and female veterans are drinking more than individuals of a similar age from the general population. It is crucial that there is better awareness within the UK Armed Forces of when alcohol use becomes problematic and that appropriate support is available for those who need it,” concluded Nicola Fear, another author of the study.

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