Finding Treatment for Veterans Struggling with Addiction
Men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces provide an incredible service to the country and the world. They risk their lives to help others. Yet, deployment and combat create intense mental health challenges. For some, the only way it seems possible to cope with those experiences is through the use of an addictive substance. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t find support and help as you work towards a sober future.
Do Veterans Have to Use the VA?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides a variety of mental health support services to veterans. Many times, these programs are hard to get into or lack the most cutting-edge treatment options available. However, many veteran health insurance programs, including Tricare, are accepted beyond just the VA. That means you may be able to seek care outside of this area. And, even if your insurance isn’t covered, it may be very valuable to make the decision to seek out care from a location like Victory to get help.
Understanding the Risk Factors
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides some key figures about addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and overall mental illness. It found that 2 in 10 veterans who suffer from PTSD have a substance use disorder. It also found that 1 in every 10 people returning from Iraq or Afghanistan have an alcohol or other substance abuse problem. Some experts believe these numbers are low and that many more people suffer but don’t seek help for it.
What Increases the Risk for Veterans to Use Drugs and Alcohol?
Many factors play a role in a person’s decision to use drugs or alcohol. For veterans, the complex changes in their daily life after being deployed—especially into combat—can prove to be difficult to manage and highly stressful. There are various complications that then occur.
The challenges of being at home is a key component of it. Some feel anxiety and pressure at home. Others find it difficult to get back into a normal routine after encountering intense situations. They may struggle to manage the demands of daily life if they are not working or do not know what their role is in the family unit.
Many times, this leads to self-medication. Veterans may turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to help them to “turn off” the thoughts in their mind.
When Does a Veteran Need Treatment?
Ideally, all veterans would receive counseling and support after coming home from deployment. Yet, that rarely happens. Many veterans face a stigma that makes them feel that getting help means admitting weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As a result, it is often up to the family members to spot the need for treatment and care. By knowing the signs to look for, it may be possible to encourage your veteran to seek help.
- A person may withdraw from social situations, especially those that may mean conversing.
- Some individuals become dependent on alcohol or drugs, making finding a source the main focus of the day.
- An individual may display mood swings, seeming to be happy and even aggressive in the span of a few hours.
- A veteran may stop doing the things they once loved, choosing to sleep or watch TV instead.
- Signs of depression, difficulty sleeping, night terrors, and the inability to focus suggest a veteran may be struggling with addiction and/or mental health issues.
If you notice these warning signs, it may be time to seek help from a licensed and respected therapist. Choose a provider who knows how to help veterans through these complex struggles.
What Will Treatment for Addiction Mean?
Many times, veterans need help for both their addiction and the underlying mental illness that is causing it. Mental health disorders that occur alongside an addiction to drugs or alcohol are called co-occurring disorders.
By treating both conditions in inpatient or outpatient therapy, it may be possible to regain more control over negative thought patterns. When you work with a qualified therapist, it is possible to work through the intense situations and thought patterns you have. You can get back to enjoying your life, no matter what you’ve experienced.
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