Friday, February 29, 2008

Alcohol Abuse in the Armed Forces

Stress, Alcohol and smoking can have adverse and disastrous effects on serving soldiers and Ex Servicemen. The family members are the immediate ones who bear the brunt of those who are stressed and addicted to alcohol and smoking. In the Army even an Army Order was introduced to curb the growing tendency of alcoholism. What happens to alcoholics boarded out of service? The families suffer the most. Many studies have been carried by out under the aegis of DGAFMS. Though statistics showing cases of Alcohol dependence syndrome is encouraging, but what is alarming is the upward growth trend.

Remedial Measures
Alcoholics suffer and hence it is a disease which needs to be treated. The issues are complex and there is no set or proven method of cure. Stress and anxiety are only contributory factors which needs to be addressed. Restrictions alone cannot succeed. Family and Group therapy as advocated by medical advisers can partially help the individuals. The only logical solution lies in Leaders showing the right way by personal example, conduct and motivation for the juniors to emulate.

It is easy to conjure up a reason for suicides and fratricides like Frayed Nerves, Stress, low morale, bad service conditions, lack of leave, communication gap and even attribute to unattractive pay! Really the issues are of Leadership. Once you have the right Leader in place all these issues just vanish into thin air.

Welfare is the most important aspect which gets neglected. Honour and Prestige of a soldier must be maintained while in service and also when he is out in the civilian world as an Ex Serviceman. The entitlements of a Soldier must be administered to him cent percent. What happens is that standards get diluted down the chain of command. The quality and quantity of his entitlement, be it rations, personnel attire, clothing and so on get awfully reduced, diluted and at times sub- standard. The Regimental Funds which are there for Welfare of Troops hardly finds its way to mitigate a Soldier in distress.

Public Relations Officer
Spokesman Col SK Sakhuja says soldiers kill each other when one of them perceives that they are being harassed by superiors or when they have heated arguments among themselves. Our foundations are strong. Indian Army's biggest enemy-Stress

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