Hundreds of thousands of returning active duty soldiers and veterans have drinking problems that are connected to their service for our country. Recently, those who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom seemed to be highly affected. The drinking is often in an attempt to self-medicate the PTSD symptoms they are experiencing.
A few years ago, research was conducted on the effectiveness of an online tool for helping these men and women reduce their drinking as well as their PTSD symptoms. It is called VetChange, and the randomized clinical trial showed that the program did indeed help. The results had been published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.
Today VetChange is a free service that is sponsored by Boston University and VA Boston Healthcare System in partnership with the National Center for PTSD, with support from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and the National Center for PTSD.
“Many veterans use alcohol to self-medicate for PTSD-related issues, such as stress, anger and sleep problems. Our program focuses on alcohol and its link to PTSD. It helps them learn to address these problems and other stressors in their lives without using alcohol,” said Dr. Brief, Director of Residential and Rehabilitation Services at the VA Boston Healthcare System, and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at Boston University.
The tool can be used by itself for Vets looking to reduce their drinking and improve the quality of their lives, and it can also be used in conjunction with traditional substance abuse and mental health treatments or therapies.