Veterans, Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Veterans, mental health and substance abuse seem to go hand in hand and it has been this way in the US for way too many years now. The fact is that there are millions of American veterans that suffer from mental illness and substance abuse. Most of the veterans that have served in war return with at least one mental health disorder.

Most veterans return and are quite a mess, sadly. The Veterans Administration says that one of the top problems of vets is a drug or alcohol problem. The wounded come back and get hooked on prescription pain pills and the biggest percentage of homeless people is veterans. In addition, the veteran suicide rate is very high and more than half are linked to substance abuse.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is very common in veterans but so are suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and depression. Substance abuse is the result because it is how many veterans silence the pain that they return with. They suffer from guilt and grief that can be too heavy to bear so professional help is needed very badly.

This is classic dual diagnosis and treatment is the only thing that will treat it effectively. Dual diagnosis veterans usually also suffer from things such as physical pain, problems with relationships, and getting or keeping a job and the combined substance abuse and mental health issues only amplify the challenge.

PTSD, the main mental health issue that veterans struggle with is insomnia, depression, feelings of rage, flashbacks, and irritability. Would you like to know more about the treatment options that are available for you or a loved one?

  • 5 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • I hope that issue gets more resolution now, and more treatment. I haven't been in military, but I have had PTSD and it was hell. Definitely needs lots of support.
  • I've got PTSD depression biopolar also an alcoholic and drug user that's all thanks to the British army I'm 25 and feels like my life is over
  • I saw my grandfather drink himself to death when i was younger. He was a Nam Veteran and would constantly relate stories about his experiences there and he was clearly horrified. I remember I used to help him in the garden (became a gardener on doctor's orders) which brought a lot of joy to him at least. Its important to get help and not just sit around waiting for something else. 
  • My father was a Vietnam veteran. He flew in the helicopters and was a door gunner. I know he suffered from PTSD & he was an addict his entire life up until he died from lung cancer. I do think some of his addiction was to blame from the things he saw and did while at war but also because while in Vietnam there was endless access to sex, drugs, and alcohol. I know when he was on an off day they would all drink. He brought those addictions back home with him. While he was responsible and managed to be a closet habitual drug user for most of his life it did end up sneaking up on him and he did eventually lose everything. 
  • My mother works at the Veteran's Home and all the patients seem to have some type of stress disorder. Always lashing out on people is not normal. I hope they keep an eye on them regularly in Veteran's Homes. A lot of veterans become substance abusers.
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