Serving in the military is one of the most honourable ways that someone can serve their country. At the same time, it is challenging, gruelling and exhausting. Military service often requires you to be front and centre in traumatic, life-threatening situations while being away from your family and loved ones for extended periods. It is no surprise then that veterans experience more negative mental health outcomes than the average person, including a heightened dependence on substances, often leading to substance abuse.
Why are veterans prone to substance abuse, especially alcoholism?
- Mental Health Struggles: Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The effects of stressful military life often manifest themselves in mental health issues – commonly referred to as “shellshock” or “battle fatigue.” These conditions may be compounded with other issues, such as domestic troubles, struggles with maintaining relationships with family and friends, and aggression acts.
- Separation: From loved ones for extended periods. This separation can take a tremendous emotional toll on a person, making them anxious and avoidant – resulting in feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
- Post-career disappointment. It can be challenging to successfully enter the job market after completing a tour – especially if education and skills are outdated and need to be retooled. This can result in feelings of worthlessness and unproductivity – both of which can lead to depression.
- Difficulty reintegrating into everyday life. After completing a military tour, going back to civilian life can be challenging. It can be challenging to feel like you belong, and many veterans express difficulty reintegrating socially. These social impairments can further mental health struggles and result in frustration, aggression and impulsivity.
Often these issues seem inescapable, and those suffering may turn to substance abuse – especially alcoholism – as a coping mechanism. The effects of substance abuse are often distressing, debilitating and persistent unless there are timely interventions. If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, we at Renova can help. By applying a biopsychosocial approach to provide holistic care for those suffering from addiction, we provide unique, quality care for our clients through empirical and practice-based evidence and experience. It is never too late to reach out. Now might be the best time to ask for help.
Here at Renova Recovery and Treatment Centre, we work with you to find a plan that works for you and fits your needs. Please contact us today to learn more about our services!