Veterans, Mental Illness, and Addiction

Veterans are More Likely to Struggle With Mental Illness and Addiction

Veterans face a series of struggles once they have completed their military duty and are back home. Many of these veterans have seen and been a part of traumatic scenes during deployment which often makes a lasting impression. These impressions, however, can be quite gruesome which can have a lasting impact, affecting the mental state of these individuals.

Adjusting to life post-military is not an easy task and many of these individuals face housing problems, money problems, mental health issues, and addiction. As a way to cope with what they had witnessed throughout their deployment, many of these men and women resort to drugs and alcohol in order to ease these mental images. Excessive substance abuse can quickly turn to addiction if the individual does not seek help.

Injury From Combat

Soldiers who have been injured during war are often prescribed strong painkillers in order to help ease the pain. These prescription drugs are extremely addictive and potent and can become habit-forming with continued and prolonged use. The most common types of painkillers that are prescribed to ex-soldiers are Vicodin and OxyContin, which tens of thousands of veterans are addicted to throughout the U.S.

The most common mental illness that soldiers suffer from is PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). This is a mental disorder that is a direct result of a traumatic experience in one’s life. This form of mental illness does not only affect those who have come back from war, but PTSD can also affect anybody who has experienced a traumatic experience such as witnessing a gunshot or a car accident.

Some of the side effects that those who have PTSD suffer from are:

  • Having nightmares
  • Disturbing flashbacks
  • Feeling distressed
  • Angry outbursts
  • Self-destructive
  • Negative mindset
  • Always on edge
  • Insomnia

Addiction and Mental Illness

Soldiers who return after war are more likely to turn to alcohol as a means to cope with their mental illness such as PTSD. They are particularly vulnerable to drug or alcohol addiction if they have an underlying mental illness. In order to help these individuals, treatment needs to be accessible, affordable, and of the highest quality. Many veterans who have returned from war feel as though they have nowhere to turn which is why resources need to be available in order to help these individuals seek the help that they need to manage their mental illness and substance abuse.

Some therapy options that individuals who struggle with mental illness as a result of combat are:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Individual Counseling
  • Exposure Therapy
  • Eye Movement Desensitization
  • Stress Inoculation Training

If you or someone close to you is struggling with addiction and mental health issues, help is available. The right treatment program can help you regain control of your life once again. You no longer have to struggle with quality help that is available near you. It’s important that you seek help right away as these issues will continue to worsen the longer you do not get the right help.

Sources:

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/related/substance_abuse_vet.asp

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3466083/

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.