Study Reveals Veterans Of Color Are Less Likely To Seek Treatment For Certain Conditions

There are about 17 million veterans in the United States, and some of them experience health conditions that are different from those who have not served in the military, per Statista. Studies indicate they often have more multiple chronic conditions than nonveterans, including high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. Recent research published in the Psychology of Addictive Behaviors sheds light on the conditions veterans seek treatment for, and it also calls attention to the fact that veterans of color are less likely to seek treatment for certain conditions.

For the study, researchers screened 334 veterans for medical conditions including anxiety, insomnia, and alcohol abuse (via HealthDay News). They also asked veterans to report on their current physical and mental health conditions and how important it was for them to seek treatment. About 66% of the participants were male, and of those, 70% identified as people of color. The statistics highlighted a gap in treatment.

Some veterans are less likely to seek mental health assistance

Experts found that veterans were more likely to seek treatment for physical problems than mental problems. HealthDay News reports that the participants of the study were more likely to seek help for chronic pain, other chronic conditions, and brain injuries, but were less likely to seek help for drug use and sleep problems. According to the study published in the Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 75% of those surveyed suffered from sleep problems, and 74% struggled with substance use. Study author Mary Beth Miller told HealthDay News that because sleep and alcohol problems are common, they could be normalized to the point that they are not viewed as problems worth seeking help for.

In addition, veterans of color who didn't seek help for dealing with stress also reported instances of discrimination, which made them even less likely to seek treatment. Miller noted the importance of encouraging veterans of color to use healthy coping techniques to deal with stress. This could help them avoid negative experiences at the doctor's office, per HealthDay News.