Depression and binge drinking is hopelessly common in veterans, according to survey data.
The harassing mental health problems affect one in four unemployed veterans and one in three who work.
The percentage is remarkably high among people with a disability: nearly 70 percent of them are depressed.
What's more, 25 percent of veterans with a binge-drinking depression say.
Dr Lawrence Weinstein, chief medical officer of the American Addiction Centers, who produced the survey, said the figures show clear areas that policymakers, physicians and families can work on, while the suicide rate of veterinarians continues its ten-year increase.
More than 25 percent of veterans suffering from depression report alcohol abuse. Hawaii had the largest number of veteran binge-drinkers at 21.5 percent and Utah had the lowest figure of 9.1 percent
The survey collected data from the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).
The BRFSS collects data on risk behavior from US residents, chronic health problems and the use of preventive services.
Although depression can be hereditary, it can also be a result of experiencing emotional and physical trauma, as many veterans do.
While psychological problems are a concern for all members of the service, they are most common among unemployed veterinarians and people who are unable to work.
More than two-thirds of veterans who are unable to work due to disabilities and more than one in four who are unemployed suffer from depression.
There are more than 23 million veterans in the US, but several studies show that only half of the former staff who need treatment for psychological or substance abuse problems seek care.
Dr. Weinstein, a psychiatric / addiction specialist whose patients are veterans, spoke to Daily Mail Online about how depression goes unnoticed among former service members and why early intervention is the key to recovery.
& # 39; Among the general population of the US, 60 million adult Americans have major depression, about seven percent of the population, he said.
& # 39; But if you go to the veterans, 37 percent of female soldiers and 27 percent of male soldiers are diagnosed with major depression. You see a jump from seven percent of a population to almost forty percent. & # 39;
Dr. Weinstein says there are a few steps that medical professionals can take before the depression worsens.
& # 39; You have to identify those who are at risk early and treat them, because the longer one stays in treatment, the better they become, "he said.
Mental disorders and depression are not uncommon in veterans, but if they are not enrolled for treatment, they can turn to substances such as alcohol as a coping mechanism.
Between 2013 and 2017, the study showed that the number of veterans with binge drinking episodes has increased from 14.3 percent to almost 16 percent.
Even more distressing, more than 25 percent of veterans suffering from depression report binge drinking.
The survey looked at the binge-drinking patterns of veterans in all 50 states and found that Hawaii had the most amount of veteran binge-drinkers at 21.5 percent.
Hawaii was closely followed by Nevada at 20.5 percent and Wisconsin at 20.1 percent.
The biggest factor leading to veterans with substance and alcohol abuse problems seems to be Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
About seven percent of the US population is depressed, but among the veterans this increases to nearly 28 percent
PTSD is caused by an overactive fear memory and includes a wide range of psychological symptoms that may develop after someone has experienced a traumatic event.
According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, former service members who suffer from PTSS are more likely to have drinking problems.
Approximately one in three veterans who are treated for substance-related disorders also have PTSD.
However, several studies have shown that consuming alcohol can worsen the PTSD of a veteran can worsen.
Because alcohol is a depressant, it can aggravate the symptoms, including fear of depression and insomnia.
& # 39; It is a vicious circle [veterans] can not get out and the result is that they now need help for substance use disorders on top of PTSD, & # 39; Weinstein.
The survey showed that Utah was the state with the lowest number of binge drinking veterans with 9.1 percent.
However, in a report released earlier this month by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, it appears that although there are fewer homeless veterinarians across the country, the number has increased in Utah.
The report showed that the number of homeless veterans increased from 220 in 2017 to 239 in 2018, an increase of 8.6 percent.
Experts are concerned that the increase of former members of the street service may lead to a large proportion of them developing deaths.
Nearly 70 percent of veterans who are unable to work as a result of disability suffer from depression, while about one in three working veterans suffer from the condition
"It will increase in states with a large homeless population", said Dr. Weinstein.
& # 39; But it is not only the large number of veterans that live in the state, but what kind of local policy is there to help them. & # 39;
So what can be done to give our veterans the help they need? A few things, according to Dr. Weinstein.
Mental illness is a terribly under-diagnosed and under-reported condition and it is even higher among veterans than the general population, & # 39; he said.
& # 39; So we need to identify veterans with one serious mental illnesses and place them in specialist treatment programs because they not only suffer from PTSD or depression, but also from COPD, hypertension and so on. & # 39;
Dr. Weinstein adds that there must also be education among different people.
We need to spend time on education: how can we inform our veterans about the ability to develop PTSD when they return from the service abroad, they need to train commanding officers who will warn superiors of what early signs of mental illness are? among soldiers. & # 39;