Health & Safety

March 15, 2013

Doctor: Substance abuse research progresses

by Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON D.C. — Defense Department officials are developing research-based methods to curb substance abuse among service members, their families and veterans, a senior DOD medical official said, March 11.

Dr. Michael E. Kilpatrick, deputy director for force health protection and readiness programs in the office of the deputy assistant secretary of defense for force health protection and readiness, spoke as part of a congressional series on Capitol Hill.

The briefing was sponsored by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, which supports research on substance abuse and associated mental health problems among active-duty members, their families and veterans.

Kilpatrick, who spent 25 years as a Navy physician, outlined some of the research that looks promising for those who battle substance abuse in addition to mental health issues. His years of research and clinical care made him realize that “the more we do, the more we need to do,” he said.

The doctor noted the major advances of saving lives with top-notch U.S. military medicine in war zones. “We’re doing a great job with those physical wounds,” he said, but he added that Defense Department officials want to focus on the invisible wounds of war and know much more needs to be done.

“We recognize there are tremendous stressors and going to war in itself is a stressor,” Kilpatrick said. “Not knowing what the outcome is going to be, not knowing exactly when you’ll be back or what’s happening to your loved ones while you’re gone are stressors.”

Studies and research have shown that the act of going to war, even without engaging in combat, is a tremendous stressor, he added.

Several programs are underway in DOD to help battle substance abuse and mental health issues and the Army and Marine Corps have begun resilience training for that reason, he said.

“We try to get service members to understand what their strengths are,” Kilpatrick said. “What did they grow up with? What were the strengths that got them to the Army or the Marine Corps? And how do they build on those strengths to develop even better coping skills to withstand the stressors that come with the military?”

To detect mental health and substance abuse problems, Kilpatrick said, every service member goes through a health assessment after deployment, followed by yearly assessments. The Army, he added, does health assessments in the combat theater every year.

“In each of those assessments, there are questions about mental health, about post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide ideation and depression,” Kilpatrick said, noting assessments also include questions about alcohol and tobacco use.

“We find a very high rate of people who respond that they think they’re having trouble with alcohol,” he said.

A presidential executive order requires DOD and the Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services departments to work together to provide mental health services, suicide prevention information and substance abuse treatment, Kilpatrick said. All the departments will operate on the same programs to treat mental health and substance abuse issues, with common language and nomenclature, he added.

“That way, there is a single network and not three or four independent systems,” he noted. “As we look at strategies over the next three to four years, we’ll look at how to improve. It’s been an exciting step forward.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

‘Tis the season to drink responsibly

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) — It’s that time of year when holiday parties and late night celebrations begin to fill our calendars and we look forward to spending time with family and friends to celebrate our own special reasons for the season. Every Christmas Eve, I celebrate my life and I give thanks...
 
 

Good cyber security habits essential during holidays

With so many new methods for cyber theft, it’s important to remember to take extra steps to protect your bank accounts and money this season, as criminals look to take advantage of the increased spending activity. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your identity and your wallet. Here are some tips for...
 
 

Shop and donate wisely this holiday season

California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris recently issued tips on how Californians can protect themselves from identity theft and make the most of their charitable giving throughout this holiday season. Tips for safe shopping: Review your bank and credit card statements frequently for unusual and unfamiliar transactions. In the event of a security breach involving...
 

 
HBI--strength-training-getting-started

Build a better body through strength training

Strength training, also called weight training, boosts your metabolism by adding lean muscle, helping you lose weight and keep it off. It can also prevent diabetes, fight aging, keep your bones strong, protect your memory, lowe...
 
 

‘Tis the season for holiday health

The holidays are a great opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends, celebrate life, to be grateful, and reflect on what’s important. They are also a time to appreciate the gift of health. Here are some holiday tips to support your efforts for health and safety this season. Wash your hands often. Keeping hands...
 
 

Safety Tips for this holiday season

It’s that time of year once again, and the March ARB Fire Prevention wants to ensure your safety during the holiday season. It is our pleasure to share the following safety tips to help you enjoy the holiday season. Only flame-proof decorations are authorized for use on March ARB. Special decorations or temporary arrangements for...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin