Drinking a Big Problem for British Troops in Afghanistan and Iraq

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has plagued many U.S. veterans of the Afghan and Iraq wars, but for British troops alcohol abuse seems to be the bigger problem, Reuters reported May 13. 

Researchers from King's College London found that PTSD rates among U.K. troops are relatively stable, quelling fears of an epidemic of combat stress problems similar to that experienced by U.S. troops. However, rates of alcohol abuse, anxiety and depression were elevated among British soldiers, according to study leader Simon Wesserly.

Overall, 13 percent of British troops were misusing alcohol, but the rate of alcohol abuse was 22 percent higher among soldiers who served in Iraq or Afghanistan. About 4 percent of troops suffered from PTSD, and 20 percent had other, less severe mental disorders.

Study co-author Nicola Fear said that PTSD rates may be higher among U.S. troops because they are deployed longer in combat areas.

The research was published in the journal Lancet.

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