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Addiction In Veterans: PTSD

Many veterans suffering from an addiction have co-occurring PTSD. Once referred to as “shellshock,” and later “battle fatigue,” PTSD can be caused by witnessing warfare or other significantly tragic or startling events.

Although most cases of PTSD are caused by combat, veterans may also develop the disorder after sexual abuse — about 23% of women veterans have reported being sexually assaulted during their time in the military.

Some symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Flashbacks

  • Memory problems

  • Low sense of self-worth

  • Hopelessness

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Relationship problems

  • Aggression

  • Self-destructive behavior (self-harm or substance abuse)

These symptoms may be triggered by anything that is a reminder of the traumatic incident. Many veterans turn to substance abuse to self-medicate and numb their pain.

People with PTSD have a harder time overcoming addiction than those without it. The symptoms of withdrawal combined with the symptoms of PTSD amplify negative feelings and emotions that may lead to a relapse.

Addiction treatment programs that focus on PTSD and addiction simultaneously can be the most successful for veterans.

Addiction In Veterans: Prescription Medications​

other mental health issuesVeterans with PTSD are often prescribed anxiety medications, many of which are highly addictive. To curb the risk of addiction, some doctors prescribe non-addictive Antidepressant medications such as Paxil or Zoloft. But even veterans without PTSD can become addicted to Painkillers prescribed for combat-related injuries.

Common medications prescribed to veterans include:

Veterans taking these drugs may develop a dependence on them, meaning they exhibit a tolerance to their effects and show symptoms of withdrawal when quitting. As time goes on, veterans may spiral into full-blown addiction; this is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior.

In an attempt to mitigate drug abuse among service members and veterans, some advocates are pushing for tighter regulations on how long addictive medications can be prescribed.

VA and other substance abuse programs

Many military personnel in many countries struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. Despite being on active duty, some veterans are also suffering from mental illness such as anxiety, homelessness or the pressures associated with a return from a military assignment.

During their previous experiences, veterans may have special treatment services to meet their specific needs. Veterans Affairs provides individualized treatment for the surviving veteran.

The VA offers numerous treatment options that include individual and group therapists and medication. Veteran Substance Abuse Treatment in Central Florida Heroes’ Mile is a substance abuse treatment center designed for veterans experiencing problems with addiction and other psychological challenges related to their military service.

Veteran Substance Abuse Military members are often exposed to stressors that are not experienced by the general public. Due to this, substance abuse disorders are common among military personnel. For example, prevalent addictions among veterans include alcohol use disorder and prescription drug abuse , such as opioids.

PTSD & Substance Use in Veterans

After deployment adjustment is a very difficult and lengthy procedure. Some of the veterans suffer only minimal bodily injury from battle, but others have a less fortunate chance of recovery. Hundreds of people are suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder due to wartime traumatic event experiences.

Many veterans who have PTSD are turning to drugs for help and thereby worsening the symptoms of the disease in ways they do not expect. PTSD is also a major issue for veterans. In the absence of an effective remedy PTSD and other mental health conditions in veterans are fatal. Research has shown that deployed military personnel are less likely to commit suicide than military veterans.

Are veterans with PTSD more likely to have substance use disorders?

A person suffering from PTSD can have physical or emotional distress due to their anxiety. Many people who suffer from the disease turn to drugs or alcohol to relieve symptoms. Unfortunately veterans suffering from PTSD have not been excluded from such trends. When PTSD is a chronic problem, many individuals use prescription medications to cope with it. Veterans with injuries in combat have a high rate of alcohol addiction.

Initial pain pills can quickly turn into an addiction, especially if it is triggered by traumatic experiences or PTSD. A few statistics related to addiction and mental health issues.

Veterans With PTSD & SUD

Dual diagnosis programs can help patients manage their addiction and mental health problems simultaneously. Veterans with both addiction and PTSD are most effective for treatment. The dual diagnosis of PTSD and addiction involves a variety of treatments including individual, family and couples counseling. Some medications are prescribed to treat PTSD or addiction.

The VA recommends using opioid agonists to treat opioid addiction, including methadone and buprenorphin. While the department of veterans affairs offers programs and support, some veterans would instead not turn to the VA for help. At Dr. Paul’s By The Sea, we offer treatment and therapies specifically designed for veterans.

Chronic Pain and Physical Trauma Affected Veterans

A veteran often suffers chronic pain as a result of severe physical stress. Usually treatments for acute and chronic pain include prescription drugs coupled with physical therapy such as yoga or chiropractic care. Patients undergoing pain or injuries are frequently prescribed opioids, highly addictive medications. Patients who use long-distance opioids are susceptible to opioid dependence. In 2017, 74,800 Americans died from overdoses of opioids.

Sexual assault trauma

Military sexual traumas are the terms used when a service member experiences sexual violence in military service or was sexually harassed during service. Several thousand women have suffered sexual assault in their careers from military service members since 2001. Veteran sexual trauma shows PTSD after sexual assault or PTSD. PTSD is associated with sexually abusive behaviors by female veterans who served in service. US Department of Veteran Affairs. “Veterans Health Administration: Connect with Your Medical Center. ” Accessed November 4, 2019. Cigna. “ Military Sexual Trauma.

Veteran substance abuse statistics

Between 2004 and 2006 about 7.1% of Americans have been identified as having drug addiction. Among vets aged 18-25 the rates were 25%. A substance use disorder can be identified if there are physical or psychological harms that are caused by a substance abuse disorder. Prescription drugs are extremely common for Service Members. From 2002 to 2008, the amount abused by veterans in active duty services rose 2 percent to 11%.

Veterans and Mental Health

Almost one million veterans were treated at the Veterans Mental Health Services Administration mental health program in 2018. As previously stated, harsh conditions and traumatic incidents that many service members experience when they serve as an army member is clear that veterans can have mental health issues. In 2017, 1 in 5 adults were afflicted with mental illnesses ranging from severe to severe.

PTSD and substance abuse

PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental illness which has become characterized by violent or physical injuries or deaths as well as traumatic trauma. PTSD affects a large proportion of veterans whose battles have taken place. The most commonly identified diagnoses were those deployed abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, PTSD has been linked to veterans who suffered sexual assault during their service.

Addiction Treatment for Veterans

Upon discharge service members may find it difficult to transition into civilian life. Veterans in combat have experienced multiple devastating incidents including losing limbs and suffering. Veterans can have anxiety symptoms which they usually manage with medication. Set about recovery. Take control of your bowel system and stop drinking. Find a Solution to Addiction. Get help in overcoming the urges and living a sober life.

Rehab treatment centers for veterans

Depending on the veteran seeking recovery or a relative who has experienced substance abuse, the rehabilitation understandably, incidences of drug or alcohol abuse are higher among veterans who have experienced certain types of trauma, such as combat exposure. Drug and alcohol abuse is a national concern, but substance use among the veteran population is epidemic.

Signs of drug and alcohol addiction

Veterans suffering from addiction may meet criteria for substance use disorders. These signs are the signs that the person’s addiction can become worse and they can be seen by a family member. Other symptoms include:

Tricare & TriWest Insurance Accepted

Dr. Paul By the Sea provides excellent service to the military. We appreciate your interest in tricare insurance, giving our service personnel a wide variety of health care services. We offer substance use disorder treatment in Jacksonville.

Our Veteran Drug & Alcohol Addiction Hotline

Find out which insurance providers offer coverage at a local US addiction center, and we can verify your coverage right away. You are allowed to receive treatment on-site with less costs. Required Membership ID WXY 1030ZA.0.

Post-Residential Treatment

The duration of rehabilitation for veterans varies according to client needs. The recovery of those who have experienced addiction and/or PTSD may require specialized medical attention. Upon completion, the first steps are Partial Hospitals and Intensive Outpatient Hospitals.

Finding help for a veteran struggling with PTSD or substance abuse

There are many options available to help the people who serve our country. It may not be possible for people to speak out for themselves about their own struggles or anxieties. I feel it is important to veterans that they have specialized support networks and a community in which people can come to help when they need it.


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