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Veterans and Substance Abuse

a photo of two people holding each other hands while discussing the connection between veterans and substance abuse

During their time in service, many members of the U.S. military experience severe physical and mental stress. And when their service is done, veterans face the challenge of reintegrating into civilian life. These facts help explain why many of America’s veterans abuse drugs or alcohol. In turn, this substance abuse often leads to the onset of diagnosable substance problems. If you find yourself in this situation, addiction treatment for veterans can help. This specialized care addresses the unique issues that veterans face in substance recovery. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Evoke Waltham. We can help you or the veteran in your life get addiction treatment. Reach out to us at 866.276.1920.

Frequency of Substance Use During and After Military Service

Active duty military personnel have some unique risks for alcohol and drug use. Chief among these risks is deployment outside U.S. territory. Compared to their counterparts on home soil, personnel on deployment are more likely to:

  • Start smoking
  • Drink excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Use some kind of legal or illegal drug

The military’s discipline-oriented culture helps limit the extent of severe substance problems. But when military service ends, these limitations are no longer in effect. This helps explain why veterans’ drug and alcohol use rates are higher than those for active duty personnel.

What Are the Statistics on Veterans and Substance Abuse?

What kinds of substances are misused by U.S. veterans? By far, the most commonly abused drug is marijuana. Other frequently used drugs include prescription opioids, heroin, and cocaine.

But the single most significant source of problems for those who served in the military is alcohol. If you’re a veteran, you’re more likely to drink than someone who hasn’t been in the military. You’re also somewhat more likely to consume alcohol in excessive amounts. Roughly two-thirds of all veterans who seek treatment identify drinking as their primary form of substance abuse.

The Facts on Veterans and Addiction

The connection between veterans and substance abuse is not trivial. That’s true because heavy drug or alcohol use seriously increases your chances of developing an addiction. About 11% of all veterans have a substance use disorder (SUD). This means they’re affected by the following:

  • Addiction
  • Life-disrupting, non-addicted substance use
  • Overlapping symptoms of addiction and life-disrupting abuse

This percentage is only slightly higher than that for society as a whole. However, other serious, related issues often affect veterans with SUD. Specific problems associated with veterans and addiction include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues. They also include homelessness, chronic pain, and increased suicide risks.

The Importance of Specialized Addiction Treatment

A specialized treatment program may be essential if you’re a veteran affected by addiction. Why? This kind of program provides a safe environment for your recovery. It also features doctors and counselors trained in helping veterans and their families.

A treatment program for veterans may also offer other essential benefits. For example, top programs typically provide education and life skills services. These services help prepare you to reintegrate back into your community. Quality programs may also have veterans on staff. This way, they help ensure that your experiences will be understood and respected.

Learn More About Veterans and Substance Abuse at Evoke Waltham

Want more information on substance abuse risks for veterans? Talk to the professionals at Evoke Waltham. We’ll help you understand your specific risks of severe problems. We can also help you minimize those risks.

Are you or your loved one already affected by addiction? Evoke Waltham features a dedicated program for veterans with SUDs. This program includes frontline treatments known to promote effective addiction recovery. It also has a full slate of supportive services geared toward veterans’ unique circumstances. To get started, call us today at 866.276.1920. You can also fill out our online contact form.