Veterans and Addiction

Alcohol and prescription drug abuse is higher among active duty service members and veterans. Many of these people suffer from underlying post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Why Veterans Turn to Drugs and Alcohol

Many men and women who are serving or have served in the United States military struggle with addiction. Veterans who have seen combat may have co-occurring disorders, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, in addition to an addiction. Traumatic events such as combat exposure and multiple deployments can trigger drug or alcohol use, which all too often lead to addiction.

If a veteran you love is struggling with a drug or alcohol use problem, get in touch with us now for help.

Veterans and PTSD

Many veterans suffering from an addiction have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although most cases of PTSD are caused by combat, veterans may also develop the disorder after sexual abuse. About 23% of veteran women have reported being sexually assaulted during their time in the military.

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Addiction to Prescription Medications

Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder are often prescribed anxiety medications. To curb the risk of addiction, some doctors prescribe non-addictive antidepressant medications such as Paxil or Zoloft. Even veterans without PTSD can become addicted to painkillers prescribed for combat-related injuries.

Common addictive medications prescribed to veterans include:

Veterans taking these drugs may develop a dependence on them. As time goes on, veterans may spiral into full-blown addiction.

Alcohol and Illicit Drugs in the Military

Few service members risk using illicit drugs in the military because it can result in a dishonorable discharge. Drinking, however, is an ingrained part of military culture that often carries on into civilian life. All too often, veterans and service members self-medicating with alcohol succumb to an addiction.

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Treatment for Veterans

Veterans looking for treatment for their addiction have more options than the average civilian. In addition to traditional inpatient and outpatient rehab programs, veterans have the unique option to seek treatment through the Department of Veterans Affairs. This is beneficial for veterans who may not be able to find an affordable treatment program on their own.

The VA offers:

Some veterans prefer to avoid the VA when looking for any type of medical care because it can take much longer to get treatment. In cases of serious PTSD and/or addiction, getting immediate treatment is essential and seeking treatment outside the VA can be beneficial. There are many qualified treatment centers for addicted veterans with underlying PTSD.

If you’re a veteran struggling with an addiction, find help now.