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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Divorce, Alcoholism Rates Higher Among Returning Troops 
I'd be curious to know if we've ever had a war where this wasn't true:

Army researchers saw alcohol misuse rise from 13 percent among soldiers to 21 percent one year after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, underscoring the continuing stress of deployment for some troops.

In post-deployment reassessment data completed in July, researchers also saw soldiers with anger and aggression issues increase from 11 percent to 22 percent after deployment. Those planning to divorce their spouse rose from 9 percent to 15 percent after time spent in the combat zone.

And that’s just the start of the problems, according to military family support groups.

“At the end of the day, wounded servicemembers have wounded families,” said Joyce Wessel Raezer, government relations director for the National Military Family Association. “More must be done to link servicemembers and families with the services they need and the information about PTSD and other mental health issues.”

LINK: http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=32730&archive=true




The flip side of the divorce issue, of course, is that "stupid marriage" rates skyrocket immediately before a deployment, as truckloads of new soldiers who are barely old enough to shave marry their girlfriends so they can get benefits as military spouses.

Many of these marriages would not have occurred in the first place had there been no deployment. I remember the chaplain was a pretty busy guy in our last few days at home station, marrying people in the Battalion Commander's office, amidst all the rest of the madness.

As for anger rates, I think a lot of the anger isn't so much at the deployment (though while troops are deployed there's certainly a lot of that - especially where there are family problems and changes in the go-home date).

I know I get frustrated with lousy press coverage, and as a result, people who equate our veterans to murderers, Khmer Rouge, Nazis, or guards in the Soviet gulags, or people who regard our troops as "babies," "boys and girls," or "victims." Those people I just want to slap.

Well, that's as much a result of irresponsible political leaders as poor press coverage. So yeah, I do get angry. But it's not at the things you would expect.

Splash, out

Jason

Comments:
I wonder if anyone has looked at similar numbers from the Navy. Our treatment of alcohol is legendary and I've heard plenty of stories about people being met on the pier by lawyers with divorce papers.

Such a comparison would help determine if these negative results are the result of long separation (Navy and Army numbers similar) or being shot at (Army numbers significantly higher than Navy). Of course you'd still have to correct for the fact that Navy has been going out to sea for long periods of time since the days of Noah, while lengthy separations are new to this generation of soldiers.
 
Divorce rates up among deployees? That's what I call a 'duhtistic' - something you know without running the numbers.
 
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Our troops pay with their families, marriage and health.
 
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