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Addiction Within the Veteran Community

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November 11th marks Veteran’s Day in the United States. Veteran’s Day exists to honor those that have put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms. Many veterans have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice a great deal throughout their life and may have seen things that should never be seen by anyone. These experiences can lead to self-medication through drugs or alcohol to try to dull the pain that memories bring.

Veteran sits with a healthcare provider discussing recovery and treatment for mental health and substance abuse at Destination Hope

It is easy for veterans to feel alone even when others are around. It’s easy to believe no one understands their thoughts or what they went through. However, help is out there, and people care deeply about supporting veterans through addiction and mental health treatment.

Veteran Substance Abuse

 Veterans that have fought in combat have seen things that they can never unsee. This may cause co-occurring mental health conditions to exist such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD along with substance abuse. PTSD can stem from combat memories but not exclusively so. For example, over 20% of female veterans report that they were sexually assaulted during their time in the military. Regardless, the feelings associated with these conditions may lead someone to look toward drugs and alcohol for relief. This requires what is known as a ‘dual diagnosis’ or working to treat both substance abuse and mental health conditions at the same time.

While in active service, military personnel must go through regular drug testing with harsh consequences if their test should come back positive – deterring illicit drug use while serving. However, around 10% of veterans are diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder, which is higher than the national average.

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It can sometimes be hard to pinpoint why someone begins to abuse drugs or alcohol. But, often in veterans, it is a way to escape their thoughts and memories. With the proper treatment through a detox or dual-diagnosis program, veterans can work with experienced medical professionals to get rid of their substance dependence as well as identifying what triggers their use and find ways to cope in a healthy manner.

Destination Hope is a drug, alcohol, and mental health center that works closely with our clients to find a treatment plan that works best for them. Every individual is different, which is why we provide a multitude of programs to help tackle and overcome substance abuse and mental health disorders. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, do not hesitate to give us a call today. We are here to provide you with the tools and resources necessary to overcome addiction and live a happy and healthy life.

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