Long-term recovery from alcohol use disorders in the veteran population: A grounded theory investigation

Date

2016-05

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Abstract

Alcohol misuse is a significant health challenge resulting in negative consequences across multiple dimensions. Consequently, Alcohol Use Disorders (AUDs) represent a widespread and costly challenge impacting individuals, families, and communities. AUDs are a significant problem in the general population but they are even more prevalent among active duty service men and women as well as veterans of military service. Extant research describes both the incidence and prevalence of AUD among veterans as well as initial exploration of the correlation between military culture and onset of AUD. Further, there has been recent research identifying and developing evidence based practices for intervening with veterans who experience AUD. However, there is a paucity of research focusing on what factors contribute to long-term recovery among this population. The purpose of the study was to utilize grounded theory to explore veterans’ conceptualization of recovery and factors contributing to establishing and maintaining long-term recovery among veterans. Participants were nine veterans averaging 27.9 years in recovery. Six major themes emerged including: (1) early negative life experiences, (2) early exposure and access to alcohol, (3) alcohol filled a need, (4) enabling of drinking behaviors in the military, (5) early recovery experiences, and (6) later recovery experiences. Veterans defined recovery as total abstinence and enhancement of quality of life. Implications for future research included exploration of deficits in recovery models, veteran specific clinical practice, and the effect of trauma on the initiation of AUD in veterans and long-term recovery.

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Keywords

Veterans, Long-term recovery

Citation