The mental and the physical stress of the men serving your country in the armed forces exposes the veterans to a high risk of substance abuse. Physical injuries, psychological trauma, combat exposure, and even prolonged separation from their loved ones take a very server toll on the mind and the body. Thankfully, rehab for veterans is available: The United States Department of Veterans Affairs, also known as the VA, offers short-term, as well as long-term solutions for the veterans of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Marines. Whether you may need help with moderation or you have a life-threatening addiction to a particular drug, you will get the support that you need to get back on track.
- Medications to reduce the cravings for drugs or to minimize the withdrawal symptoms.
- Medications and even individual therapy to address anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression.
- Counseling for families or couples in order to aid in repairing damaged relationships.
- Training in how to handle any relapse triggers.
- Coping skills to help you deal with the ordinary life stressors that you will face in daily situations.
- Connections to programs in the community like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous.
Military Veterans and Substance Abuse
The psychological and the physical repercussions of serving in the military can be a very long lasting effect, and many veterans need the intensive veterans drug treatment programs once they have been discharged. The National Institute on Drug Abuse also called NIDA, notes that the alcohol abuse is the highest of problems among the veterans. In a study by the NIDA conducted using Army soldiers who had returned home from Iraq shown that over 27percent of the soldiers showing signs of the abuse of alcohol and had an even higher risk for dangerous types of behaviors link using illegal drugs or drinking and driving.
Why are veterans at a higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse than non-veterans?
Reasons veterans are at a higher risk for drug abuse than non-veterans include underlying mental illnesses or other issues such as:
• Sleep deprivation
• Relationship issues
• Combat Stress
• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
The abuse of prescription drugs also increased with the members of the militaries. Between the years 2002 and 2005, the non-medical use of the prescription drugs has doubled among the members of the Armed Forces. Between the years 2005 and 2008, the misuse of these medications tripled, according to the studies conducted by the NIDA. There has never been a right time than to increase the availability of veterans drug rehabilitation programs.
- In the year 2003, 3.5 percent of the veterans have used marijuana within a month, compared with the 3 percent of those who are not veterans inside of a similar demographic group.
- The data showed that 0.8 percent of the veterans that received treatment for the use of alcohol or drug use, in comparison with 0.5 percent of those who are not veterans.
- There is 7.5 percent of the veterans that have reported heavy use of alcohol in a month, which in comparison is the 6.5 percent of non-veterans.
What percentage of US veterans have substance abuse disorders?
Nearly 20% of US veterans who were in Afghanistan and Iraq were diagnosed with substance abuse disorders. Roughly 75% of Vietnam War veterans meet the criteria for substance abuse.
Reasons for Alcohol and Drug Abuse in the Veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs is not just worried about helping the veterans fight the addiction; the VA also addresses the underlying issues that are deemed the motivator for the drug or alcohol abuse, hence the veterans drug treatment centers. Some fundamental problems that are addressed include:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD
- Lack of Sleep
- Relationship Problems
- Combat Stress
Army Veteran Rehab Resources
- The initial screening for the Army Veterans who gauge the need for alcohol or drug rehabilitation.
- Outpatient counseling for those who do not need the intensive inpatient type of rehab.
- Residential care for the veterans who need intensive medical treatment and the structured supervision during their rehab.
- Continuing the care to help the Army veterans to adjust to the life in the civilian world, which includes the access to the self-help groups located in the community.
Navy Veterans Rehab Resources
- About 30 percent of the veterans have PTSD, traumatic brain injury, depression, or another cognitive disability.
- There is 19 percent of the veterans that were in Afghanistan and Iraq is also diagnosed with a chemical dependence or substance abuse issue.
- There is 75 percent of the Vietnam veterans that meet the criteria for the substance abuse.
- About 140,000 veterans were placed in a US state or a federal prison in the year 2004.
The Drug Policy Alliance Report urged our government agencies to initiate an overdose prevention program for the veterans and extend their access to the medication therapies for those with a drug addiction. Methadone and buprenorphine are two of the highest used prescribed medications that help reduce the cravings and the withdrawal symptoms in an addict that will interfere with the recovery in opiate addiction.
Marines and Recovery Resources
The US Marine Corps is highly known for their tough crowd, but not even the strongest of Marine is immune to the alcohol and drug addiction Veterans of this military often struggles with the aftermath of the combat psychologically, carrying invisible emotional and mental wounds that have extreme effects on their life.
- The SUD program has already treated almost 152,000 veterans.
- 128,000 veterans were diagnosed of SUD.
- At least 28.2 percent of the veterans were diagnosed with an alcohol problem.
- There was 19.3 percent of the veterans that had drug problems.
- About 52.4 percent had issues with drugs and alcohol both.
How can rehab programs help veterans with substance abuse problems?
Rehab programs can help veterans with substance abuse problems by providing:
• Medications to minimize withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings
• Medications or therapy to address anxiety, PTSD, and depression
• Counseling for families or couples to repair damaged relationships
• Training in handling relapse triggers
• Coping skills to deal with life stressors
• connections to members of the community via support groups
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