Aging Veterans and Alcohol Use Disorder
Being in the military means you’ve probably experienced a wide range of emotionally charged events. It also means you may have suffered injuries or found yourself unable to manage stress well. For many older Veterans, all of that pain and suffering is difficult to manage. Some develop alcohol use disorder (AUD) in an attempt to self-medicate pain with alcohol.
Alcohol becomes a way out. It can help to soothe the pain, reduce the tension, and calm the memories. For some, it’s easier to have a drink than it is to open up about what they are facing as they get older. Yet, AUD is a very real risk to health and well-being. For many Veterans, misusing alcohol can lead to numerous health complications and a lower quality of life.
How Much Risk Is There of AUD in Veterans?
In a study published in 2021, the researchers found that alcohol misuse in Veterans who are older is considered an “emerging public health issue.” That study found that, especially for Black, Indigenous, and other people of color who are also Veterans, the risk of developing AUD is much higher. That’s due to a higher rate of binge drinking.
The statistics show that many Veterans are also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and that could increase the risk of AUD. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs shares that 2 out of every 10 Veterans who have PTSD also develop a SUD.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse shares that, among Veterans, alcohol is the most commonly abused drug, with heavy drinking and binge drinking being at a much higher level than other types of drug use. The risk of alcohol addiction is high, and that’s not something to ignore.
Is It Happening to You? How to Spot the Signs of Alcohol Addiction in a Veteran
It’s hard to know the signs of alcohol addiction because many people consume alcohol on a consistent basis and do not develop this condition. Yet, the following are indications that you may have an AUD that requires treatment by a professional alcohol treatment center.
- Not controlling how much you can drink – not being able to stop if there’s alcohol available to you
- Trying to cut back or eliminate drinking but failing to do so
- Needing to increase how much you drink so that you can get the same feeling of relief
- Using alcohol as a way to stop thinking or feeling
- Giving up on activities you loved and enjoyed doing with others to drink alone
- Feeling alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you cannot get a drink, such as sweating, nausea, and irritability
- Hiding how much or when you are drinking
- Losing periods of time, called blackouts
It’s also a good idea to listen to what your family and friends are saying. If they’re telling you that you drink too much, find out how that’s impacting them and your relationship with them. As Veterans, it’s easy to think that you’re in this alone, but your actions can impact the lives of people whom you are close to, even if you think this is your problem and not theirs.
What Is the Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder in Veterans?
You don’t have to continue to live this way. Treatment for alcohol use disorder is highly effective and life-changing. With the help of our dedicated team in our alcohol addiction treatment center in Lafayette, we can offer a wide range of treatment options to help put you on the path to recovery.
- Alcohol detox: For many people, the first step is to go through a formal alcohol detox process to help rid your body of the substance and break the mental demand for it. With our team, you’ll be in a safe, home-like setting with medical support in case you need it.
- Inpatient alcohol addiction treatment: Spending a few weeks with us going through therapy and learning strategies to manage life’s complications can help. Our Veteran-specific programs are designed to help you recover with others facing the same challenges.
- Outpatient treatment: Continue to work with us through outpatient alcohol addiction treatment. Build up an army of defense against the risk of relapse, and start to build your future as well.
Take a few minutes now to learn more about our Tactical Recovery – Veteran Support Services. When you do, you’ll find that this Veterans program is empowering and allows you to work through the challenges you are facing while being treated with the utmost respect.
Reach Out to Us Today for Immediate Help
Turn to Victory Addiction Recovery Center to start learning more about Veterans and alcohol addiction. Determine what your next step is toward recovery and how you can begin to find a way forward. We’re here to help you! Call us now – we’re here 24-7.
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