Being in the military takes courage, discipline, dedication, and sacrifice. This is because military personnel must go through intense training and put their lives at risk every day that they’re in combat. To cope with the stress that comes with working so hard and constantly putting one’s life in danger, many military veterans start misusing substances. Once veterans start misusing substances, they can develop drug dependency or addiction. Luckily, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs along with many high-quality national addiction treatment centers offer rehab for veterans.
Data and Statistics About Rehab for Veterans
A study in the Drug Policy Alliance report found that as many as 11% of veterans that receive care for substance use meet the criteria for suffering from substance use disorders. Studies also show that veterans are likely to not seek out help for mental health issues due to the stigma that’s often associated with suffering from a mental health disorder.
In fact, the Drug Policy Alliance report, among other studies, states that 30% of veterans that return from Iraq and Afghanistan report suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Many veterans also struggle with symptoms of traumatic brain injury, depression, mental illness, and/or other cognitive disabilities.
As many as 55-75% of the total number of veterans that suffer from substance use disorders, also suffer from a co-occurring diagnosis of PTSD or depression. As a result, many veterans that struggle with untreated PTSD and other mental illnesses cope through substance use. This only adds to the substance use problem amongst veterans and how many people need to attend rehab for veterans.
Veterans Alcohol Rehab
One substance that many veterans misuse is alcohol. In fact, an 8-year study from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs stated that 10% of veteran first-time users ended up suffering from alcohol use disorders. Even the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that more people in the military struggle with alcohol misuse than regular civilians.
Binge drinking is also popular amongst military personnel. For instance, the number of military personnel that binge drink often grows if the military personnel has experienced combat.
In another study done on 1,110 infantry soldiers, within 3-4 months after going through combat, 25% of the soldiers were misusing alcohol. Of that 25%, 12% ended up also experiencing behavioral health problems due to their alcohol misuse. The results from this study go to show that there is a correlation between combat and alcohol misuse. These studies also prove that there’s a need for veterans alcohol rehab.
Veterans Rehab for Prescription Drugs
Another substance that is commonly misused amongst veterans in combat is prescription drugs, in particular, opioid painkillers. This is partly due to the fact that many doctors prescribe opioid painkillers to combat veterans to help them manage the pain of past war injuries. Many other veterans that struggle with PTSD also develop dependency and addiction to prescription benzodiazepines.
Veterans Rehab for Illicit Substances
Over time, many veterans may start misusing illicit substances as well. In fact, in a 2017 survey of veterans, 4% reported misusing illicit drugs. Of that 4%, 3.5% misused marijuana.
The high levels of marijuana misuse amongst veterans are due to the same reasons why smoking substances are popular amongst civilians—they’re treated as stress relievers. Unfortunately, like with most civilians, veterans that smoke often develop poor physical health.
For example, veterans that chronically smoke make themselves susceptible to developing illnesses such as coronary heart disease. To help prevent one’s substance use problem to get to the point where it’s causing physical health problems, veterans should receive addiction treatment at veteran rehab centers.
Common Reasons Why Veterans Struggle With Substance Misuse
There are many reasons why veterans struggle with substance misuse. Many of these reasons are due to mental health disorders triggering their need to use substances to cope. Some of the major reasons why veterans struggle with substance use include the following:
Posttraumatic stress disorder is one of the most common mental illnesses that veterans suffer from. This is because many veterans experience traumatic events while in combat that will haunt them for the rest of their lives if their PTSD is left untreated.
Two out of 10 veterans that suffer from PTSD also find out that they suffer from substance use disorders. On top of that, one in three veterans who seek out treatment for substance use disorders find out that they suffer from co-occurring PTSD.
As a result, PTSD and substance use are deeply correlated with one another. That’s why it’s often advised that former military personnel attend co-occurring rehab for veterans that specializes in treating PTSD.
In a 2008 U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs study, one in three veterans experienced depression symptoms. One in five veterans in this study experienced severe depression symptoms while one in eight-10 veterans experienced major depression issues.
There are many reasons why veterans experience depression. One is that they had to spend long periods of time away from the people and places they love.
Not only can untreated depression trigger substance use, but it can also trigger physical health conditions. For example, depression can cause a person to develop heart disease. This is largely due to the behaviors that are associated with depression such as lack of exercise and proper sleep.
Veterans that experience depression are also way more likely to misuse substances. Veterans that simultaneously suffer from depression and substance use disorders should attend co-occurring rehab for veterans.
Being separated from the people and places that veterans love can cause them to experience depression as well as anxiety. The trauma of combat war can also contribute to the anxiety that war veterans often feel. In fact, according to U.S. Veteran Affairs, 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans experience acute anxiety, stress, and/or depression.
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, anxiety levels for female veterans can become especially high. This may be due to the increased levels of sexual abuse amongst deployed female veterans on top of the other classic reasons for increased stress and anxiety. This is evident by the fact that the suicide rate amongst U.S. military female veterans ages 18-34 is three times higher than that of civilian females.
Even the children of deployed veterans exhibited increased levels of anxiety and depression. To help manage this constant anxiety, many veterans start misusing substances. This, in turn, often causes them to develop substance use disorders. To receive high-quality treatment for anxiety and substance use at the same time, individuals can attend rehab for veterans at Florida Center for Recovery.
There are many factors that cause war veterans stress. For one, dealing with past trauma is very stressful. The fact that veterans are 200% more likely to be diagnosed with a disease within five years of coming home is also stressful.
The cost of medical and disability once war veterans leave combat is high and stress-inducing as well. For example, the cost of medical and disability for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans will total approximately $600 billion to $1 trillion.
Dealing with injuries along with having to get a job and become reacclimated with regular life is also very stressful for veterans. So stressful, that many war veterans struggle to reacclimate themselves into society.
As a result, according to the Department of Urban and Housing Development (HUD), over the course of the last decade, state veterans make up 12%-19% of the homeless population even though veterans only make up 7% of the human population. To make matters worse, 55% of homeless veterans suffer from a disability.
When dealing with all this stress, it’s no surprise that many veterans turn to substances to cope. Veterans that are struggling with both chronic stress and substance use issues should attend co-occurring addiction treatment.
As we’ve briefly mentioned earlier, many veterans struggle with intense feelings of loneliness due to having to once leave everything that they know and love behind to be in combat. Veterans that return from combat often still feel lonely because there’s often no one around that understands their struggles and what they’re going through.
Chronic feelings of loneliness can cause veterans to develop depression and start turning to substance use to cope. That’s where rehab for veterans can be helpful.
By attending co-occurring treatment for depression and substance use at veteran rehab centers, veterans can overcome their loneliness and depression along with their substance use problems. Plus, they can also build a support network out of the fellow veterans in the rehab for veterans program. By connecting with other veterans that understand what being a veteran is like, it can help prevent veterans that suffer from depression and substance use issues from falling back down a dark hole of loneliness and eventually relapsing.
Lack of Sleep
One common symptom of depression is sleep issues. Unfortunately, according to research done through ScienceDirect, 88% of military personnel are diagnosed with some sort of sleep disorder. Sleep issues for military personnel are the worst when they’re veterans. This is evident by research done by the U.S. Army, My Vet Advisor, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to these sources’ research, 76% of veterans suffer from sleep deprivation. This is more than 66% of the active-duty military that suffers from sleep deprivation. This is also more than 35% of all adults that suffer from sleep deprivation.
When veterans suffer from sleep deprivation, they may turn to prescription drugs, such as benzodiazepines, to help them sleep. Unfortunately, benzos can be highly addictive. This is especially true when people take benzos for a longer period of time than prescribed.
Benzos can also be highly addictive when people take higher doses of benzos than prescribed. When veterans struggle with depression, loneliness, insomnia, and a benzo addiction, they must receive co-occurring rehab for veterans.
Receive Rehab for Veterans At Florida Center for Recovery
While the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers addiction treatment services for active-duty military and veterans, there are other cost-efficient ways to attend rehab. One of these ways is through high-quality, but affordable, veteran rehab centers. A high-quality and renowned place to receive such rehab for veterans is Florida Center for Recovery.
Here at Florida Center for Recovery, we offer co-occurring and standard addiction treatment programs that are individualized for each person’s needs while also being specialized by the substance that a person is addicted to. We also offer exclusive rehab for veterans programs. That way, veterans can receive the help that they need to overcome their substance use and mental health disorders.
Attending an official rehab for veterans program can also help veterans build a support network that’s made of other veterans in recovery. This will help prevent veterans from relapsing post-treatment.
To learn more about our rehab for veterans program here at Florida Center for Recovery or any of our other addiction treatment programs and therapies, contact us today! We would love to help you overcome your substance use issues once and for all.