Although addiction is a problem for all veterans, it’s especially prevalent among those who have experienced direct exposure to combat.
To state the obvious, going through combat and being out on the battlefield is severely traumatizing. Out there, we see and experience violence and suffering to a degree that just doesn’t exist in normal civilian life. The sheer emotional intensity of our these experiences can lead to long-lasting psychological scars, causing us to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is one of the most debilitating mental illnesses, making day-to-day life sometimes feel impossible to get through. One of the potential symptoms of the disorder is increased substance abuse, which puts us at risk for developing an addiction later on.
In these cases, it’s important to remember that picking up the bottle, or using drugs, isn’t a sign of bad character, rather, it’s an attempt to self-medicate the debilitating anxiety, depression, flashbacks, and insomnia that also go along with PTSD and the experience of war. If you, your spouse, your child, or anyone else that you love is going through something similar, reach out to a rehab specializing in what veterans need. Compared to normal treatment centers, veteran rehabs will be able to expertly handle PTSD symptoms, and help you recover in the context of your military experience.