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Behavioral Health Issues Among Afghanistan and Iraq U.S. War Veterans

Returning Veterans and Possible Behavioral Health Issues

1. In addition to experiencing stress reactions such as sleeplessness, nightmares, and feelings of sadness, rejection, or hopelessness, veterans returning from combat may also struggle to concentrate, may engage in aggressive behavior, and may use alcohol, tobacco, and drugs excessively.

A. True

B. False

Substance Abuse Among OEF and OIF Veterans

2. Which of the following is NOT an accurate statement about substance abuse among veterans who have served in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom, or OEF) and Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom, or OIF)?

A. VA data show that almost 22 percent of OEF and OIF veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also have an SUD

B. Research showed that OEF and OIF veterans diagnosed with mental disorders, particularly PTSD, were notably more likely to receive prescription opioid medication for conditions related to pain than those with no mental health diagnoses

C. Alcohol misuse and abuse, hazardous drinking, and binge drinking are common among OEF and OIF veterans, who may drink as a way to numb difficult feelings and erase the memories related to their war experiences

D. One study of VA healthcare users reports that more than 7 percent of OEF and OIF veterans have been diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder, a drug use disorder, or both

Mental Disorders Among OEF and OIF Veterans

3. The rates at which women involved in OEF and OIF experience certain behavioral health issues vary from those for male veterans, with female veterans being three times more likely as male veterans to have experienced a past-year major depressive episode.

A. True

B. False


4. While behavioral health issues such as depression, PTSD, and SUDs increase the likelihood of attempted suicide, specific suicide risk factors for veterans also include frequent deployments, experiencing traumatic events while deployed, and:

A. Encountering unhealthy interpersonal relationships upon return from duty

B. Having high rates of genetic predisposition

C. Experiencing a service-related injury

D. Coping with poor overall physical and emotional health

What Primary Care and Behavioral Health Providers Can Do To Help

5. In order to help OEF and OIF veterans, primary care providers should screen for substance abuse, PTSD, depression, risk of suicide, and other behavioral health issues, intervene with brief interventions when possible, and refer for specialized care when necessary.

A. True

B. False

What Social Service Providers Can Do To Help

6. Social service professionals have the opportunity to contribute to recovery and better health for veterans by being attuned to the signs and symptoms of substance use and mental disorders, teaching veterans about wellness and coping skills, referring to appropriate services, and:

A. Understanding the patterns and prevalence of behavioral health issues among returning veterans

B. Helping them return to an active functional life in society

C. Advocating for them as they pursue independence and navigate life after combat

D. Encouraging social interaction with others and promoting personal growth

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