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Alcohol use and treatment utilization in a national sample of veterans and nonveterans.

Ranney RM, Bernhard PA, Vogt D, Blosnich JR, Hoffmire CA, Cypel Y, Schneiderman AI, Maguen S. Alcohol use and treatment utilization in a national sample of veterans and nonveterans. Journal of substance use and addiction treatment. 2023 Mar 1; 146:208964.

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BACKGROUND: Research comparing prevalence of alcohol use problems and alcohol treatment utilization between veterans and nonveterans is lacking. Whether predictors of alcohol use problems and alcohol treatment utilization differ in veterans vs. nonveterans is also unclear. METHODS: Using survey data from national samples of post-9/11 veterans and nonveterans (N  =  17,298; 13,451 veterans, 3847 nonveterans), we investigated associations between veteran status and 1) alcohol consumption, 2) need for intensive alcohol treatment, and 3) past-year and lifetime alcohol treatment utilization. We also investigated associations between predictors and these three outcomes in separate models for veterans and nonveterans. Predictors included age, gender, racial/ethnic identity, sexual orientation, marital status, education, health coverage, financial difficulty, social support, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and adult sexual trauma. RESULTS: Population weighted regression models demonstrated that veterans reported modestly higher alcohol consumption than nonveterans, but were not significantly more likely to need intensive alcohol treatment. Veterans and nonveterans did not differ in past-year alcohol treatment utilization, but veterans were 2.8 times more likely to utilize lifetime treatment than nonveterans. We found several differences between veterans and nonveterans in associations between predictors and outcomes. For veterans, being male, having higher financial difficulty, and lower social support were associated with need for intensive treatment, but for nonveterans, only ACEs were associated with need for intensive treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Veterans may benefit from interventions with social and financial support to reduce alcohol problems. These findings can help to identify veterans and nonveterans who are more likely to need treatment.

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