Lifewatch: Military and drinking problems

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- According to a study released by the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego, reservist and National Guard members coming back from fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are more likely to develop drinking problems than those who never deployed.

While post traumatic stress disorder is common among people who serve our country, now there is evidence that it can also lead to alcohol related problems.

The Naval Health Research Center surveyed over 48,000 troops and found that one in four on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan started binge drinking back home.

Reservists and National Guard members were more likely than their peers who never deployed to drink heavily and have other problems, like being hung over at work or driving drunk.

The study found women and young soldiers are more at risk.  Those born after 1980 were over 6 times more likely to engage in binge drinking and almost 5 times more likely to have alcohol-related problems at work and home.

In our area, marines complained after bar owners used an old law requiring membership cards, to turn them away, claiming large groups can turn violent.

Getting help can be tough, especially for reservists and National Guard members who often aren't as close to military health services.

The survey found that these aren't soldiers who already had problems.  The 1/4 of combat troops who reported binge drinking say they had no problems before they went to war.

Reported by Kristy Ondo