Psychological health is important for any worker. Mental engagement is considered to cause many diseases such as stress and other associated ailments. The pressure imparted either due to huge workloads and other external stressors could lower the productivity of an individual. Also, the family members and neighbors can contribute to the well-being of a person. One example of consideration are the soldiers, who are entrusted with heavy tasks of protecting the nation against the enemies. They are expected to deliver to the expected standards, irrespective of severity of the work.
The immediate family members can either motivate or derail the performance of the soldier at work. According to the information released by Kuzmarov (2007), most of the security unit’s experts receive poor reception from the wives and relatives. Due to their longtime engagement outside the family settings, it paves a way for immoral activities to set in.The disconnection between the soldier and family members breaks the union, and cases of infidelity and lack of trust start to emerge. The resultant effect isdivorce. In other cases, the victims are extremely affected psychologically, hence, seeks other remedies to remain active.
According to the study conducted by Austerman (2010), it was noted that a significant number of soldiers resort to drug abuse, to conceal the frustrations they receive from their homes. He further notes that the society contributes to this menace because they fail to counsel and guide the affected persons. There are various reasons that influence the soldiers to indulge in the drug abuse. One, it is a defense mechanism to facilitate forgetting the bad experiences. Austerman (2010) affirms that the immediate way to respond to negative incidences is through social activities. In most instances, the identified areas are drinking pubs and other dens where illegal drugs are procured.
Psychological Influence that could lead to high consumption of drugs and alcohol
The military has been linked to high consumption of alcohols. Some authors such as Wilk et al.(2010), argue that the kind of tasks soldiers are exposed to contribute significantly to this behavior. However, the argument was nullified by the research conducted by Hooper et al. (2008), who asserted that the effort of excessive drinking is partially controlled by the family members. The abuse of hard drugs has also been reported in some instances, where the security officers dope with certain chemicals to arouse their courage. Although the myth surrounding the topic is not yet proven, one thing is certain; psychological tortured estabilizes the normal functioning of the soldier’s brain (Kuzmarov, 2007).
One of the factors that proliferate high consumption of drugs and alcohol is stress. The research conducted by Austerman (2010) identified that most of the drug abuse cases among the military happened in the third world nation. He revealed that they were underpaid, which made them struggle to access the basic needs. Additionally, they spent a considerable amount of time at work, and little time to relax.
In order to deliver as expected, they always indulge in illegal drugs and excessive drinking to drown their worries. The research was backed up by Kuzmarov (2007), who later affirmed that human brains work differently in various situations. According to him, he argues that conducive environments allow people to deliver appropriately. When the psychological being is impacted negatively, an individual is provoked to seek redress in activities that eventually harm their health. Stress as a contributor towards the behavior of drug abuse could be caused by challenges in body health, workload or even the unmet expectations from the relatives (Jones & Greenberg, 2006).
Additionally, the financial position of the individual’s family background has the influence on the behavior. According to Austerman (2010), characters are built from the nascent stages of growth. The military soldiers whose backgrounds are well stable get influenced to squander the money through unprofitable means. This is because they are confident that their future times are secure due to high wealth inherited or created within a given period of time. Contrary, the humble beginning enables most of the soldiers to reconsider of the later life. Instead of engaging in excessive drinking, they plan their finances and channel them into projects which generate more income (Jones & Greenberg, 2006).
Furthermore, continued persistence to join the military as a career has left most of the people frustrated. Just like any other academics discipline, becoming a soldier is something that emanates from inside (Wilk et al., 2010). An individual cannot be forced to join the forces and expected to perform the duties as expected. Pressure from the family members might influence the person to land into profession they never wished to associate with. Hooper et al.(2008) notes that protecting the nation is deliberately choosing to defend the loyalty. It is voluntarily choosing to die while ensuring the populace are secure.Many have found themselves in defense units, yet they aspired to pursue other avenues. The trend has transpired a new generation of military, who are drunk and intoxicated with drugs that lower their services.
Psychological impairment due to working odd hours
Balancing work and rest is important for the body health of a soldier. The research conducted by Kuzmarov (2007) affirmed that working long hours with little rest increase the chances of damaging the brain cells. The rate of deterioration is lower than the speed of replacement. The information provided by the author indicated that human brain is active during the day when the rate of metabolic activity is high.
However, the optimal level is attained after a period of time, when the individual starts to experience fatigue. A reflex action sends a signal that registers in the brain as sleep. The nature of work of a soldier does not allow a predestined order of rest. Sometimes they work at night, while other instances during the day. There is a mix-up in their program which heighten the chances of psychological problems. Working late night is never effective, especially if the individual has been active during the day. The challenges of working such hours contribute to cases such as dyslexia and also hallucinations.
Psychological effects due to deployment
The lives of the soldiers are disrupted by pulling them away from their family members. They are sometimes posted in far places, where they can spend most of their times without associating with the relatives. Additionally, when they rejoin their families, they live a solitary life because they lack comrades, who share common traits. According to the study conducted by Hoge et al (2006), it was noted that the experiences affect the psychological health of the military. Psychiatric casualties have been reported in various places, where the army officers succumb to the stressors.
According to Price(2012), the effects of deployment varies depending on the various elements. One, the location of posting is key to the well-being of the individual. For example, the soldier assigned to a remote place, where access to social amenities and other basic things for survival difficult, tend to be more psychologically tortured. This is contrary to the case where a person is working in an environment which is well developed. Working in an area where the officers can access their homes is friendlier, and they feel motivated.
The survey conducted by Adler et al. (2006), indicated that soldiers working in arid and semi-arid areas are more prone to psychological diseases. Furthermore, it was noted that working in extremely cold places impeded proper delivery of service. The climatic condition of a place is, therefore, a key point of consideration when deploying. Physical examination should be conducted before posting the military to the respective locations, to minimize the chances of diseases. Additionally, the length of deployment significantly affects the mental health.
Long-term mission in war dominated places in stills fear in some of the armies. They become uncertain of their survival rate, and also keeps their family members in worries. Research conducted by Price (2012) identified that the frequency of deployment has some degree on the behavior and thinking capacity of the soldier. In his research, he noted that the spread of posting intervals could stall the performance. The argument set forward by this research depicted that about 70% of the military officers are always alert. It was noted that they could be called from their leave holidays to attend to national assignments. The situation has converted some of them to live without much care and negate the very basic virtues of family bonding.
Effects due to stress
Stress is imparting a lot of mental pressure through overthinking contributed by external environment or a complication in the body. When the condition is not tamed early, it can result in other subsidiary problems. Emotional health is essential for normal functioning of the human body. According to Larsson & Lindqvist (2017), the stressed brain can lead the person to indulge in activities which might worsen the condition. Family members are the immediate surroundings, who can either motivate or demotivate the soldier. Based on the nature of their strenuous job, they require constant motivation to relax their brains.
It can be achieved through appreciating their work and being supportive of what they plan to do. The research conducted by Thomas et al. (2002) confirmed that stressors can result in more serious cases such as personality change, depression, and cognitive thinking problems. The change in character begins by taking alcohol, which can be followed by indulging in hard drugs. It is paramount to understand the problems the military undergo through, in order to mitigate losing a significant number to drugs. The government and society should corporately work towards improving their statuses in the society.
Remedies to avert psychological effects on soldiers
It is possible to mitigate the consumption of alcohol and other drugs among the soldiers. Developing a strategy to curb the problem can be achieved, by first understanding the various problems they undergo through (Price 2012). One, increasing the number of leave days could significantly improve their mental soundness. According to the survey conducted by Hoge et al.(2006), the military officers have few off days compared to other public servants. Sometimes, the rest period is not complete because they can be recalled to attend to emergency cases. The administration is not aware the kind of damage they cause to the defense force employees. Increasing the manpower could allow the officers to go for regular leaves, hence improve their productivity.
Additionally, the housing of the soldiers is an issue that has hit the news headlines in the media all over the world. The case is more exaggerated in the developing nations, where the living conditions for the army are unfit. The houses are not modern and big enough to accommodate the family members. The soldiers opt to relocate their families to their rural homes, which heightens the solitude and desperation (Adler et al., 2005). Coming up with a plan to improve the places of residence could be the solution to excessive drinking habits witnessed among the defense unit.
Also, the governments should consider increasing their salary in order to intrigue their motivation. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, personal satisfaction is cited as one of the methods to improve the productivity (Larson & Lindqvist, 2017). He noted that human beings are excited when they can be able to access what they want at a particular time. Money is one channel that is used by most global organizations, to appreciate the employees (Larsson & Lindqvist, 2017). The resultant effect has been linearly related to the output. Similarly, a soldier could be psychologically settled when the financial status is heightened through salary increament.
The productivity of a person is determined by the status of the body health. The brain is the central organ that controls the ability to make critical decisions. The external factors contribute to its function, hence the need to be careful of what we do on daily basis. Security officers are prone to severe conditions which affect their productivity either positively or negatively. The extrinsic elements such as stressors from the family members could affect their emotional health, which later influences their personal character. Again, the immediate working environment contributes to the output. It was noted that working odd hours and deployment distract the functioning of the soldier. The review of secondary sources affirmed that disconnecting the military officers from the places they are used to, lowers their productivity.
Additionally, some of the remedies that were put across aimed to suggest the possible means to avert the increased cases of drug abuse. Increasing the salary scale is a tested and proven method to motivate the employees. They work toward achieving the higher scale level, hence have no time to waste in non-productive activities. The paper also proposes that restructuring the conditions of living through proper housing could improve soldier’s mental health. Finally, it should be noted that governments and private sectors should join to improve the productivity of the military. It can be achieved by financial contribution as well as psychological education.
Adler AB , Huffman AH , Bliese PD , Castro CA(2005).The impact of deployment length and experience on the well-being of male and female soldiers . J Occup Health Psychol 10 (2): 121 – 37
Austerman, W.R. (2010). Aguardiente at the Alamo: Alcohol abuse and the Texas War for Independence, 1835 – 36. United States Army Medical Department Journal, April – June, 72 –80.
Hoge CW , Auchterlonie JL ,& Milliken CS.(2006).Mental health problems, use of mental health services, and attrition from military service after returning from deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan ; 295: 1023 – 32 .
Hooper, R., Rona, R.J., Jones, M., Fear, N.T., Hull, L. &Wessely, S. (2008). Cigarette and alcohol use in the UK armed forces, and their association with combat exposures: A prospective study. Addictive Behaviors, 33, 1067 – 1071.
Kuzmarov, J. (2007). The myth of the ‘addicted army’: Drug use in Vietnam in historical perspective. War and Society, 26, 121 – 141.
Larsson, G., & Lindqvist, A. (2017). Military Psychology in Sweden. Handbook of Military Psychology, 519-523.
Price, R. (2012). Family as a Total Package: Restoring and Enhancing Psychological Health for Citizen Soldiers and Families.
Thomas, J. L., Wright, K. M., & Ness, J. W. (2002). Screening the Force: Modifying Psychological Screening for Deployed Soldiers.
Wilk, J.E., Bliese, P.D., Kim, P.Y., Thomas, J.L., McGurk, D. & Hoge, C.W. (2010). Relationship of combat experiences to alcohol misuse among US soldiers returning from the Iraq war. Drug &Alcohol Dependency, 108, 115 – 121.
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