Many Elite Troops Divorced and Struggling


Many U.S. elite troops -- Navy SEALs, Green Berets, Rangers -- who saw a good deal of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan are struggling at home, experts say.

A survey of special operations forces, from troops drawn from all four branches of the U.S. military, showed some are struggling with alcohol abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, anger, emotional numbness and 1-in-4 admit sleep 5 or fewer hours each night, USA Today reported.

One-in-five commandos said if given the chance again, they would have married someone else or not at all, the survey said.

An executive summary of the survey -- conducted late last year online involving 12,000 troops and spouses -- was provided to USA Today.

Between combat deployments and training trips overseas, special forces may spend eight or nine months each year away from their families and this hurts many marriages.

U.S. Navy Adm. William McRaven, who leads the nation's 66,000-member Special Operations Command, said his force has become "frayed" after more than a decade of ongoing conflict and it has taken a toll.

McRaven appointed Navy SEAL Capt. Thomas Chaby, to lead an effort to restore the force.

"'Frayed,' I don't think captures how dire some of the findings are," Chaby told USA Today.

Only 4 percent of these troops seek therapy from post-traumatic stress disorder -- only a fraction of those suffering from PTSD, alcohol abuse and other emotional issues, leaving potentially thousands untreated, Chaby said. The survey found 10 percent said they showed signs of alcohol abuse or dependency, 8 percent showed signs of PTSD and 11 percent said they suffered from emotional numbness.

"If we don't address (the strains) now, we're going to have major problems," Chaby told USA Today. "That's all we ask of the nation is give us a chance to implement this program."

No survey details were provided.

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