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Veterans and Addiction

a veteran is comforted in therapy for addiction and mental health

Nearly half of all veterans struggle with mental health challenges, and one out of 10 veterans has a substance use disorder (SUD). There are barriers that get in the way of veterans seeking the help they need, including the stigma around addiction and mental illness. They feel that needing a veterans addiction treatment program is counter to society’s expectations of them to be tough no matter what. There is no shame in seeking the help you need for a physical or mental health issue.

If you are a veteran who is struggling, reach out to Evoke Wellness today by calling 866.429.2960 or using our online form to make contact. The links between trauma and substance abuse are directly connected to the range of mental health conditions to which trauma leads, including PTSD and others. To learn more about veterans and addiction, reach out to us today. We can answer all your questions.

Trauma-Triggered Mental Health Conditions

While on active duty, members of the military experience numerous forms of trauma. Just a few are listed below.

  • Deployment in war zones
  • Loss of comrades
  • Training and combat accidents, including loss of limbs
  • Military sexual trauma
  • Witnessing horrifying wartime incidents involving peers, civilians, cities, and landscapes

In addition, isolation from loved ones, homesickness, and high levels of ongoing stress exacerbate the effects of trauma among soldiers.

When military service is over, the return to civilian life comes with its own challenges. The trauma experienced by veterans can lead to mental health issues or trigger conditions they had a predisposition for, including:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – This is one of the most common conditions experienced by veterans. PTSD keeps trauma front and center in the brain as a protective measure, but it backfires, often leading to flashbacks and many other symptoms that make daily life challenging.
  • Depressive disorders – Former military personnel experience depression five times more than civilians with no military background. Feelings of worthlessness, exhaustion, hopelessness, and sadness can make life a bleak gray landscape and may lead to thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
  • Anxiety disorders – Unlike the anxious moments anyone can have when they experience stressful moments, those with anxiety disorders are flooded with stress hormones much of the time, regardless of what is happening. This curtails their ability to live freely and accomplish even the simplest of tasks.
  • Schizophrenia –A predisposition to this condition may develop into full-blown schizophrenia due to trauma. Among US veterans, more than 100,000 experience this form of psychosis and need mental health treatment.

These mental health conditions are commonly linked to addiction. If you or a veteran you know has both a mental health and substance use disorder, seek help from Evoke Wellness by calling 866.429.2960.

Veterans and Addiction

Trauma and substance abuse often occur together in veterans due to the fact that any mental health challenges that a veteran is experiencing due to past or ongoing trauma, including all of those listed above, often lead to self-medication. After returning home, facing trauma-induced side effects and the challenges of navigating job searches and relationships, finding a home, and managing their physical and mental health, many veterans turn to drugs and alcohol to mute or lift their mental health symptoms.

Using drugs like opioids, meth, cannabis, and alcohol can lead to addiction quickly. When a veteran has an addiction and a mental health diagnosis, these are called co-occurring disorders and require specific dual diagnosis treatment that involves a coordinated, two-pronged approach that addresses both substance use and mental health at the same time.

A treatment team strategizes to develop an individualized treatment plan that may involve medication, psychotherapy, peer groups, and aligned modalities such as meditation or experiential therapies.

Veterans Who Want to Begin Recovery Must Call Evoke Wellness Today

Reaching out is easy. Just call 866.429.2960 or fill out this form. When you are connected to one of our experienced, caring staff members, you can ask questions and begin the process of visualizing a healthier you. We can help you regain your sobriety and mental equilibrium. Don’t wait. Start your journey today.