How Veterans Can Transition Back to Civilian Life and Overcome Addiction Challenges
Transitioning from the intensity of military life back to civilian life isn’t simple for anyone. In some situations, it’s quite difficult to make this move, especially if you have been in combat or other intense scenarios in which your life and well-being have been on the line. Studies from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs make it clear. There’s ample risk to the mental health of veterans, with 1.7 million people receiving mental health treatment in VA treatment centers in just 2018 alone. Even so, it’s likely that the onset of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder is underreported.
The rates of drug and alcohol use among veterans show just how hard it is to live with trauma or other mental health issues. Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse shares that 1 in 10 veterans are diagnosed with some type of substance use disorder. That’s higher than the general population.
It’s clear – transitioning back to civilian life is hard to do. Still, overcoming addiction and reclaiming your future is possible, and the work is worth it.
There are several things you can do to build confidence as you move forward.
Expect it to be Challenging
The transition will come with obstacles. Veterans may feel like the worries and concerns of others are so minor. It may feel hard to find a place to fit in when the world has gone on without you. Many people feel aimless, not knowing where to go or what to do with themselves when they return home.
Recognizing that this process is challenging can help you accept the hard work ahead of you and resolve to move through it. You can’t avoid the challenges, but you can face them with more resilience.
Get Support from the Start
Often, it’s difficult to find support from family members and friends who are just happy you’re home. They don’t know what you are experiencing or how to relate to it. That’s why most veterans benefit from help as they transition.
Whether you are facing addiction right now or at risk for it, our tactical recovery program at Victory Addiction Recovery Center can help you during this time. It’s designed to provide very effective, specific help to veterans who are facing challenges. We understand what you’re going through because our program has been designed by professionals who have faced similar situations.
Seek Employers who Specifically Hire Veterans
Employment is often a big problem for many veterans because they want the right environment with the best level of support. Some employers prefer to hire veterans. Working with veteran-friendly employers allows you to have more access to the supportive services you need, and often you’ll work with other vets who know what you’re going through.
If you’re struggling with employment as you come back to civilian life, seek out these employers and showcase to them all of the value you bring. Describe the awards or medals you have and how you think on your feet, solve problems, and manage your time.
Recognize the Signs of Addiction and Seek Help
Could you be facing addiction right now? If so, it is limiting your ability to transition well. Addiction or substance misuse is not uncommon, but it’s also not something to ignore. Look for signs of addiction onset, including:
- Using substances every day or wanting to
- Pulling away from people and activities that you enjoy
- Using substances alone
- Needing to increase how many drinks you need because it’s no longer helping
- Combining medications and alcohol to get more impact
When you recognize these risks occurring, reach out for help. That should start with a call to a detox center like Victory, where we work to support the needs of veterans. If you’re not ready for detox, just reach out to a treatment center to get outpatient care. The key is to take action.
Engage in Family Therapy
Family therapy offers a safe and controlled environment in which to share with family members how you’re feeling. Therapy can help you learn how to best communicate with your loved ones to reach mutual understanding. It will help your family learn how to support you and how to ask for your support.
How We Can Help You
At Victory Recovery Center in Lafayette, LA, drug and alcohol addiction treatment for veterans is available to you. When you take the step to call us, you can get the support you need to transition to civilian life with confidence.
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