According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, one in 10 veterans struggle with addiction. The effects of war can leave soldiers feeling isolated, anxious, depressed, and unable to cope—leading to substance abuse. This blog will discuss veterans and addiction statistics, explain why veterans are likely to fall into addiction, and emphasize the importance of veteran treatment for addiction.
The veterans’ addiction treatment program at Fort Behavioral Health focuses on helping veterans identify and manage their stressors, as well as how to cope with their feelings. This program is tailored to veterans’ specific needs and offers individualized treatment plans. The goal of this program is to help the veteran remain sober and healthy over the long term. Call 844.332.1807 or contact us online to learn more.
The Root Causes of Addiction
Addiction is a complex illness that affects millions of people every year. It is often caused by a combination of genetics, environment, mental health issues, personal life circumstances, and trauma. For veterans specifically, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is one of the leading causes of substance abuse as they struggle to cope with their experiences in combat zones or during deployments.
Why Veterans Are Likely to Fall into Addiction
Veterans can have difficulty readjusting after returning home from active duty due to physical injuries or psychological scars like PTSD or depression. Substance abuse can be used as an escape mechanism for them to cope with the challenges of adjusting back into civilian life or dealing with their feelings related to trauma or loss. Some substances may also make them feel more relaxed or provide a distraction from their thoughts or worries.
While the correlation between veterans and addiction statistics may be alarming, the root causes of addiction remain the same. The difference lies in the disproportionate number of veterans exposed to addiction triggers.
Veterans and Addiction Statistics
According to the US Department Of Veteran Affairs statistics on veteran’s substance use disorders:
- 9% of veterans aged 18-25 have experienced a substance use disorder in the last year
- 11% of veterans aged 26-49 have experienced a substance use disorder in the previous year
- 17% of veterans aged 50-59 have experienced a substance use disorder in the last year
- 24% of veterans aged 60+ have experienced a substance use disorder in the last year
- 6.6% percent overall experience alcohol misuse each year
- 5.3% percent overall experience drug misuse each year
- Over half (57%) reported using opioids at some point in their lives
- 47% reported using illicit drugs at some point in their lives
- Approximately 12-15% currently struggle with PTSD, which increases the risk for developing an addiction
The Importance of Veteran Addiction Treatment
Addiction has severe consequences on physical and mental health if left untreated; however, many options are available for those seeking help. It’s important for veterans struggling with addiction to seek professional help so that they can access proper care and support services tailored specifically for them and receive evidence-based treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medications if needed. This type of specialized care will enable them to understand their triggers better and create healthier coping mechanisms that don’t involve abusing substances.
What to Expect During Rehab for Veterans
Veterans should expect a comprehensive program that focuses on both physical health concerns. Pain management through holistic therapies like yoga or meditation can be effective. Mental health treatments, including group therapy sessions, encourage emotional healing through self-expression and discussion amongst peers who understand what it’s like being in the military service. A successful rehab program should also focus on relapse prevention skills, including setting achievable goals and teaching stress management techniques that minimize cravings when faced with difficult situations or triggers later down the road once discharged from the rehab treatment center.
Veteran Addiction Treatment at Fort Behavioral Health
Fort Behavioral Health specializes in treating active duty service members, reservists, retired military personnel, veterans, and first responders dealing with addiction and PTSD issues. We offer individualized treatment plans customized based on your needs. With evidence-based practice approaches alongside holistic therapies offered at Fort Behavioral Health, you can rest assured you’re getting quality care from compassionate professionals dedicated to helping you achieve lasting recovery success.