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PTSD, Substance Abuse, and Veterans

a military person sits on a couch listening to a therapist discuss the connection between ptsd substance abuse and veterans

Being a serviceman or woman in the armed forces creates several unique challenges. When a family member in the military comes home, it should be a cause for celebration. While some veterans are lucky enough to leave active duty, none the worse for wear, many military members struggle with combat trauma. They often suffer from various physical and mental health challenges for the rest of their lives because they serve their country. Too many veterans battled for their lives on the front line, only to come home and battle post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use.

If you know a veteran who has turned to drugs or alcohol to cope with life outside the military, getting them help in a veterans addiction treatment program could be the start of a new life for them. If they are one of the many veterans who struggles with flashbacks to their service or other mental health issues such as depression, then a PTSD treatment program can help them build healthier coping mechanisms and deal with triggers.

At Evoke Waltham, we believe that our service people and their families deserve the best care we can offer. Contact us at 866.276.1920 to learn more about how we can help understand the connection between PTSD, substance abuse, and veterans and how addiction treatment could be a practical next step.

The Connection Between PTSD and Substance Abuse

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, accident, abuse, terrorist attack, war, or other life-threatening situation. PTSD can affect anyone regardless of age and gender. People with PTSD typically experience distressing thoughts and feelings related to the traumatic event for months or even years afterward. Common symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Reliving the traumatic event
  • Nightmares
  • Intense fear or anxiety when reminded of the event
  • Avoiding situations that remind them of the trauma
  • Disturbed sleep cycles
  • Experiencing difficulty trusting people
  • Confusion

PTSD can make it very difficult for a person to function daily. Those with PTSD often feel isolated and alone as they struggle to cope with their symptoms. They may have difficulty maintaining relationships due to their inability to trust others or even hold down jobs because of their inability to concentrate on the tasks at hand. Treatment for PTSD typically involves individual psychotherapy sessions with a mental health professional and group therapy sessions with other individuals struggling with similar issues.

Understanding PTSD, Substance Abuse, and Veterans

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use are among the most common issues faced by veterans. Up to 20% of veterans coming back from war experience PTSD. It is not uncommon for those with PTSD to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the trauma and emotions associated with their experiences. Substance abuse can become an addiction, leading to further physical and mental health problems.

The two conditions are closely intertwined, making it difficult for veterans to manage their symptoms without addressing both issues. Many veterans may use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate, hoping to ease the turbulent emotions associated with PTSD. On the other hand, substance abuse can make existing symptoms of PTSD worse, leading to even more negative thoughts and behaviors.

It’s important for veterans struggling with PTSD and substance use disorder to seek comprehensive care that treats both conditions simultaneously rather than just focusing on one or the other. Treatment has to address underlying psychological trauma from military service while helping individuals develop healthy coping techniques for managing stressors in daily life. The cycle of PTSD and substance use can be difficult to break without professional help, but veterans can address both conditions with the proper support.

Turn to Evoke Waltham for an Addiction Treatment Program

At Evoke Waltham, we understand that trauma is a natural part of the human experience. Still, we also understand that underlying trauma can negatively affect a life. We are careful to watch out for the signs of past trauma in patients who need help with substance use. In this case, they may be entered into our dual diagnosis treatment program to address both conditions simultaneously.

Our addiction treatment programs don’t just stop with treating the symptoms but also the underlying causes of addiction. We aim to give every patient a new lease on life and lasting recovery. You can contact us at 866.276.1920, and we can tell you more about the connection between PTSD, substance abuse, and veterans and how our programs can help.