Substance abuse is one of the biggest problems in the United States and directly affects the healthcare system. Historically, it’s difficult for people to get the help they need and access mental health resources. As time evolves, more resources are becoming available and they are helping destigmatize mental illness and substance abuse.
One population that is particularly prone to developing mental health and substance abuse are veterans. We should be honoring the people who serve our country and put their lives on the line every day and make treatment accessible.
Statistics on Substance Abuse and Addiction Among Veterans
There is a growing concern surrounding substance abuse and addiction as it relates to veterans. Right now there are more than 2 million people serving in the armed forces and more than 23 million veterans in general. Many of these individuals are facing significant challenges as it relates to drug and alcohol abuse. A study produced following a survey that took place between 2004 and 2006 showed between five and 10 percent of veterans might meet the criteria for a substance abuse disorder. For young adults specifically, this rate was as high as one in four.
The Reasons Why Veterans Are At Risk for Addiction
Why are veterans at such a high risk of developing substance abuse and addiction disorders? There are a few reasons to note.
This is the biggest factor. Veterans are exposed to events on the battlefield that most people can barely fathom. As a result, they need to find ways to cope with what they see. A large number of veterans go on to develop mental health issues such as PTSD. Some people may not be able to cope with counseling and therapy. Others may not want to. Instead, veterans turn to drugs and alcohol to help them cope. This, in turn, leads to addiction.
The rate of sexual assault in the army has come to light recently with alarming numbers. Veterans who are abused in the military are at risk of developing other mental health issues including PTSD and depression. In order to cope with the symptoms of these disorders, veterans may look to drugs and alcohol once again. This is a coping mechanism to help them deal with the trauma they have suffered.
Barriers to Treatment
Some veterans may find that there are major barriers to treatment. There is a shortage of access to mental health resources in the United States and veterans may also struggle to obtain prescription medications they need. This can leave veterans looking to drugs and alcohol for assistance once again.
Homelessness is a devastating epidemic amongst United States veterans. The vast majority of veterans who are homeless also have mental health disorders. It can be difficult for a veteran to find and maintain a job while battling mental health disorders. Without a job and health insurance, they will struggle to find health care providers who are willing to see them. This contributes to drug and alcohol abuse even further.
Drug Abuse and Addiction Among Active Military Members
There is an epidemic of drug and alcohol abuse in the military. Members serving often turn to prescription medications to help them cope with their experiences while on active duty. Some of these members even use prescription medications to self medicate chronic pain and PTSD. Many of these prescription medications end up getting abused because they are extremely addictive.
It is important for everyone, including veterans, to know that resources are available that can help people fight back against addiction. There is no shame in asking for help. With the guidance of trained professionals, everyone can beat addiction.
Rely on Quest 2 Recovery for Addiction Treatment
Anyone who is looking for addiction treatment including veterans should rely on Quest 2 Recovery in Lancaster, California. Our trained professionals will work with you to come up with a plan that suits your needs. We offer treatment plans that also specialize in dual diagnosis which is perfect for veterans battling PTSD and substance abuse. Contact us today to get more information and help.