General Lord Dannatt said abuse of alcohol has long been a chronic problem in the Army (Image: Getty)

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More than 8,000 troops have needed medical help for alcohol abuse in the past six years.

Up to 1,500 are treated every year while another 120 are classified as alcohol-dependent.

Boozing among some soldiers was so severe that over 170 men and women developed mental health problems, according to official stats for 2014-2020.

As well as alcoholism, their conditions included acute alcoholic hepatitis, alcoholic paranoia, cirrhosis and chronic alcoholic brain syndrome.

Alcohol abuse was far higher in the Army, with 5,634 troops needing medical treatment compared with 950 RAF personnel and 1,832 in the Royal Navy.

Do you think Army bosses do enough to look after our troops? Tell us in the comments below!

Stats reveal more people in the Army become an alcoholic than the Navy or RAF (file photo)
(Image: Getty)

The figures were revealed as one general spoke about his drink problems in a bid to persuade other soldiers to seek treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions.

General Sir Patrick Sanders, 54, said he realised he needed help after finding himself in a “dark place” while thinking about his experiences in Iraq.

“I’d find opportunities to be on my own,” he said. “I would sit up late at night drinking. When I caught myself at two in the morning with a bottle of wine or whisky I realised I needed help.”

And one ex-corporal said he was rarely fit for duty on a Monday morning after a weekend on the booze.

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Simon Marshall, 32, from Birmingham, said: “From the day I joined the Parachute Regiment, alcohol became a big part of my life. I joined when I was 18 and didn’t know what it was like to get drunk. Our instructors encouraged us to get drunk when we had leave, company barbecues, parties, anything like that. You were expected to get completely wasted.

“Up to 15 pints over a day was not unusual. I left the Army after eight years and went to Alcoholics Anonymous and got my life back.”

Another soldier with 24 years of service said he used to drink just to get through the day – “probably three to four litres of vodka a week”.

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John, 48, said he had been teetotal for 14 months thanks to an alcohol recovery scheme for troops called MilSMART set up by charity Humankind in 2017.

He said: “MilSMART has been my crutch and to see the impact it has had on other individuals has been great.”

Lord Dannatt, former chief of the general staff, said: “Abuse of alcohol has long been a chronic problem in the Army – more than misuse of drugs, which is dealt with very severely. The culture of working hard and playing hard often leads to misuse of alcohol.

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“That said, there is a greater awareness in the Army of the dangers of alcohol abuse, and of the importance of physical fitness, than 10 or 20 years ago.”

The Sunday People is fighting for better treatment of soldiers and veterans with mental issues.

The MoD said: “The health of personnel is of utmost importance. In addition to treatment for those struggling with ­alcohol misuse, all three services are developing holistic programmes as part of a healthy lifestyle strategy.”