Alcohol use and misuse within the military: A review

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


Traditionally alcohol has been used by the military to cope with the intense stress of battle but also as a way of mediating the transition from the heightened experience of combat to routine safety. The use of alcohol has divided medical opinion. Some doctors viewed it as wholly harmful to both social and occupational function and to health, while others argued that alcohol had a specific role in lifting morale, aiding unit cohesion and protecting soldiers from adjustment disorders. Although alcoholism has always been identified as incompatible with military service, the effects of habitual heavy drinking among military personnel are less well understood. Recent studies have suggested that young single males and those who have undergone particularly stressful experiences are at greatest risk of misusing alcohol. These associations, observed in the aftermath of recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, have again raised questions about the place of alcohol in military culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166 - 172
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Review of Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011


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