I have been a Navy spouse for over twenty years. During that time, I have witnessed first-hand the changes experienced by military families in many aspects of their lives. While military families will always experience certain normative stressors, the tools they have to navigate these stressors is ever-changing. Experiences such as moving, frequent separations, deployment, and awareness of risks involved in military service are a common thread among families. However, the way these normative stressors are experienced, understood, and addressed continues to evolve.
Blog posts with the tag "Military Culture"
When one thinks about substance use or addiction in the military, one’s mind may automatically go to alcohol. Although the prevalence of alcohol use and abuse can be considerable, we would be remiss to overlook the historical use and current trends in use of two other legally and socially sanctioned substances within our military population: tobacco and caffeine.
A study of non-treatment-seeking infantry soldiers who had been deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq Tobin, et al (2014) found that 44.0% reported chronic pain (pain for more than 90 days). Of those chronic pain suffers, 48.3% reported symptoms for over one year. Additionally, 15.1% of this non-treatment-seeking sample was using opioids. The comparable rates of civilian chronic pain and opioid use at the time of this study were 26.0% and 4.0%. Alarmingly, 44.1% of soldiers reporting opioid use also reported mild to no pain in the past month and 5.6% reported no pain (Tobin, et al, 2014).
Have you ever said “I need a drink!” to a friend or colleague? Maybe you’d had a long, stressful day, or maybe you wanted to unwind and relax before bed. I think it’s endemic in our society to an extent, the use of having a drink – let me clarify, an alcoholic drink – to de-stress, and by extension for many, to try to get to sleep.
The Department of Defense’s Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness recently released an inaugural Annual Suicide Report (ASR). Along with data regarding suicides among Active Component, Guard and Reserve Service members, it also included the first ever number of suicide deaths among military spouses and dependents. According to the ASR, there were 186 reported military family member suicide deaths in CY17.