Substance abuse can take many forms, from alcohol to prescription medications. For example, while the use of illicit drugs is lower for Veterans (with 2.3 percent of military personnel using cocaine, heroin, and other illegal drugs as opposed to 12 percent of the population at large), the misuse of prescription drugs is overall higher. And it appears to be increasing.
Another substance that appears to be a greater problem for military personnel than civilians is alcohol. NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) shares that 20 percent of service members binge drink on a weekly basis, with that amount increasing to 27 percent if the soldier has been involved in combat-type scenarios. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) points out that the issues don’t necessarily stop there.
According to the NCADD, “difficulties in civilian life—setbacks such as job loss, divorce and financial problems—all common for returning vets—may push as many as 13 percent of vets toward drinking and drugs.”
In other words, when military personnel return from duty and are faced with obstacles related to acclimating to civilian life, they have a greater likelihood of seeking solace in drugs and/or alcohol. This can become an even greater issue if the service member has PTSD.
PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. As the American Psychiatric Association explains, it is “a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault.”
Individuals with PTSD commonly have nightmares and flashbacks of the event that has caused them distress. Because of this, they tend to avoid things that remind them of what happened and often react with anger or irritation when something occurs that reignites a memory.
To Learn more about Substance Abuse, or if you suspect someone you know may be suffering from PTSD or other related issues, please click here for additional information, programs and help.
Homelessness and additional Legal Information
Sometimes it can be overwhelming when looking for resources to assist Veterans. Below are some additional links which may be of help.
PTSD and Substance Abuse Help for Veterans
Guide to Finding a PTSD Therapist
How to Stop Living Out of Your Car - Guide for Homeless Vets
Homeless Veterans’ Resources
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
Financial Benefits of a Military Career
Financial Assistance for Homeless Vets
Homes for Homeless Vets
Support for Veterans and Their Struggles
Legal Advice for Veterans