Why Are So Many Veterans Addicts?

Various factors contribute to people’s use of illegal substances and addiction to drugs. Substance abuse is often done for recreational reasons or as a means to alleviate the symptoms and negative consequences of a mental health issue. Substances that provide a momentary escape from reality are more likely to develop psychosis in adults who are seeking to normalize their mental condition.

Veterans are among a large group of adults who suffer from substance misuse disorders. Soldiers and their families must endure many trials and tribulations in their military careers. Families must adjust to life without their loved ones after being deployed. It is imperative that military personnel also deal with the complexities of the on-the-ground situation.

Veterans and PTSD

Veterans usually suffer from co-occurring problems, such as addiction and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). A mental syndrome known as battle weariness occurs after experiencing a difficult wartime situation or other traumatic events.

Most PTSD symptoms in men are caused by combat, whereas approximately 23% of PTSD symptoms in women are related to previous sexual abuse. Women with PTSD have reported sexual abuse during their military service. PTSD symptoms can include memory loss, hopelessness, flashbacks, low self-esteem, violent characteristics, insomnia, self-destructive behavior, anxiety, relationship problems, etc.

Symptoms can be triggered by anything that evokes memories of the traumatic event. Due to these troubling characteristics, veterans frequently turn to substance abuse for temporary relief and a calm state of mind. To feel better and relieve their symptoms, they may use drugs, alcohol, or other substances. Soldiers with PTSD may also struggle with addiction disorders.

Addiction and PTSD

The connection between substance abuse and mental health has long been recognized, but it is especially true for veterans. Veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder are most likely to become addicted to drugs and alcohol. Veterans who have experienced violence, death, and military sexual trauma can develop PTSD. Yet how does PTSD operate in reality?

PTSD may make it difficult to recover from a stressful event. Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Flashbacks
  • Irritability and insomnia
  • Intense aggression
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Preventing circumstances that resemble the traumatic event

In the face of all these challenges, relationships are bound to suffer. Veterans often think that the only way to cope with their stress is to abuse drugs or alcohol. According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, two out of ten veterans with PTSD also have a substance abuse problem. Veterans who receive therapy to treat physical and emotional traumas suffered during their service have seen this problem become more prevalent.

Addiction Rates Among Veterans Could Drop

All of these factors impact veterans’ addiction rates. Fortunately, we can improve the situation. Veteran-specific substance abuse treatments, including cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and other types of treatment, can help veterans recover from substance misuse.

Mallard Lake Detox Center is one of the best drug and alcohol treatment centers in Houston, Texas, that provides detox and intensive outpatient therapy to veterans. Talk to our online team to learn more about our veteran addiction treatment programs.