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Do Alcohol Misuse, Service Utilisation, and Demographic Characteristics Differ between UK Veterans and Members of the General Public Attending an NHS General Hospital?

1
Combat Stress, Tyrwhitt House, Leatherhead KT22 0BX, UK
2
King’s Centre for Military Health Research, King’s College London, London SE5 9RP, UK
3
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Portsmouth PO6 3LY, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jane Grant-Kels
J. Clin. Med. 2016, 5(11), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm5110095
Received: 20 September 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 21 October 2016 / Published: 2 November 2016
The aim of this paper was to provide insights into alcohol misuse within UK veterans to inform as to whether their presentations differ from the general public. This was done by exploring differences in the severity of alcohol misuse between UK veterans and the general public admitted to a general NHS hospital over an 18 month period using retrospective data. All patients admitted to the hospital were screened for alcohol misuse. Those deemed as experiencing problems were referred for specialist nurse-led support. A total of 2331 individuals were referred for this supported and administered with a standardised assessment that included measures of the severity of alcohol difficulties (AUDIT), dependency levels (LDQ), and assessed for the presence of withdrawal symptoms (CIWA-Ar). In addition, information was collected on service utilisation, referral category (medical or mental health), other substance misuse, and demographic characteristics. No differences were found between the severity of reported alcohol difficulties between veterans and non-veterans. Evidence was found to suggest that veterans were more likely to be referred for support with alcohol difficulties at an older age and to be admitted to hospital for longer periods of time. This could have considerable cost implications for the NHS. It was more common for veterans to present at hospital with physical health difficulties prior to being referred for support for alcohol. View Full-Text
Keywords: military; veterans; alcohol; substance misuse; NHS; mental health military; veterans; alcohol; substance misuse; NHS; mental health
MDPI and ACS Style

Murphy, D.; Palmer, E.; Westwood, G.; Busuttil, W.; Greenberg, N. Do Alcohol Misuse, Service Utilisation, and Demographic Characteristics Differ between UK Veterans and Members of the General Public Attending an NHS General Hospital? J. Clin. Med. 2016, 5, 95.

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