So Many Addicted Vets, So Little Help

The returning military veteran, the United States finest, honored by some and disregarded by many. These men and women are never the same after they serve a tour of duty in barbaric Afghanistan or Iraq but they do it and if they are lucky enough to make it home alive their lives are forevermore changed. They return with PTSD, anxiety, and panic disorder, just to name a few, and the results are so sad and it is even sadder that only minimal help is available for them.

Marriages are destroyed and families are broken because someone they loved and trusted served in the military but when they returned they were not the same. These people, the US military veterans, became homeless, hungry, drunks, and addicts. Why, to mask the mental anguish that they cannot forget so some sleep on floors because they feel safer, some cannot even sleep at all because they are riddled with memories of the many mortar attacks.

These vets reach for anything that will offer them some relief. Those that were wounded in service will likely get hooked on prescription painkillers provided by the Veteran’s Hospital and the same is true for those who are suffering from anxiety or panic attacks but they will get hooked on the benzos. Many become alcoholics and are discarded from society like trash. Once they make it to the street viaducts how will they ever get help?

Transitioning to civilian life is a hefty task for so many vets. While the access to and quality of care does seem to be improving, still not enough is being done. Vets need options for their mental illnesses before they reach for drugs or the bottle. They can’t do it alone, they need help.

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  • It's a similar situation here in the UK too. So many of our homeless are ex-services and it is shameful. They risked their lives for our countries and this is how society treats them in return. Whilst they do get great medical care, there is little support for those who have had traumatic experiences on duty. It is no wonder some of them turn to alcohol and drugs. 
  • When I was in rehab there where a lot of vets there. They were suffering from PTD as well as addiction. It was really sad to hear their stories. They all said the same thing can't get mental health care from the VA hospitals as they need it.
  • This is a very unfortunate situation. They sacrificed their lives, their happiness for the common good of the country. Normally, defense people don't face any financial crunch. The defense department should take the responsibility and establish dedicated rehab homes for these war veterans and their recovery must be hastened so as to put them back into normal life stream.
  • I echo everyone's sentiments here that it is indeed sad. Coming from a poor country, I always have this notion that the U.S. being a first world country offers the best treatment, social welfare, hospital care. But to hear what you just described is heartbreaking.
    The U.S. has been sending troops to fight for wars for a long time, by now the government should be aware of this issue and should be doing something - not what you described here. I hope things could improve for the vets. Not too many people have the courage to serve, and it's unfortunate if they are not given the best treatment for the services they have offered.
  • That's really the sad reality of a veteran's life. Along with the fame, benefits and power they have comes the trauma and stresses they encountered during their service. And add to that, they have sacrificed their family, their lives, their entire being so they can protect the citizens of the USA. I hope that their case is more focused on by the government. They need help and they should be helped because they helped the USA protect their citizens.
  • I feel so sorry for all those vets who don't get enough help, some don't get help at all and end up homeless. So sad, because they were used as pwns so the rich and powerful could get what they wanted... aka wars.  What a sad life :( 
  • This is seriously a cause for concern. Are there rehab programs specially designed for vets? The kind of anxiety they go through is different from the anxiousness felt by most substance abusers. They've not only seen countless of human deaths but have also been on the brink of losing their lives. The government needs to look into this situation more seriously and do something about it.
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