Figure 2-10 presents findings on the acute and chronic inpatient and outpatient cases from 2001 to 2010. As shown, there was a gradual increase in rates of acute and chronic incident (new) alcohol diagnoses during the latter part of the decade. Numbers of hospital bed days for acute alcohol diagnoses increased more than threefold. Incidence rates of acute and chronic alcohol-related diagnoses were highest in men aged 21-24 in the Army; for women, rates were highest among those under 21. In addition, there were sharp increases in alcohol-related medical encounters, especially from 2007 to 2010.

Initial analysis also indicated that approximately 21 percent of acute alcohol-related encounters were classified as “recurrent” diagnoses, meaning that during the 10-year period, personnel had a 12-month period that included three or more acute encounters. Following this initial report, some concern was expressed that individuals receiving treatment may have been misclassified as recurrent cases. A subsequent reanalysis using a revised algorithm found that 79 percent of cases originally classified as recurrent were likely treatment related, and further suggested that with this correction, approximately 4 percent of the initial cases would be considered recurrent (Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, 2012b).

The results of this study indicate the increasing medical burden imposed on the Military Health System by excessive alcohol use and are especially

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FIGURE 2-10 Incidence rates of acute and chronic alcohol-related inpatient and outpatient cases, active duty component, U.S. military, 2001-2010.

NOTE: p-yrs = person-years.

SOURCE: Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, 2011.



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