Substance abuse can affect anyone at any stage of life. However, certain factors in a person’s life may increase the likelihood of developing an addiction. Traumatic events, mental illness, and chronic pain are risk factors for substance use disorder. Many of those who have served in the military deal with these conditions daily.

Veterans are especially susceptible to substance use disorders because of the hardship they experience in the military. At Magnolia City Detox, our veteran substance abuse programs are available for those seeking addiction counseling in The Woodlands, TX.

Military service takes a toll on a person’s mental and physical health. Soldiers are conditioned to take on the most demanding challenges that anyone faces in our country. Following military service, many veterans are left to fend for themselves. The trauma and pain that veterans experience can be overwhelming, leading to substance use.

A veteran can seem tough and hardened on the outside while being broken on the inside. The reality of military service is that it can cause a lifetime of pain and suffering. Sadly, many veterans do not seek treatment for addiction because of the perceived stigma around seeking help for mental health issues. Instead, many veterans turn to drugs and alcohol to ease the pain.

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Why is it Common for Veterans to Suffer From Addiction?

Unfortunately, most veterans do not receive proper care after service and resort to substance use. Almost one out of every three veterans seek treatment for a substance use disorder each year. Instead of seeking treatment for mental illness and physical injury, a large percentage of veterans use drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism.

After service, veterans may develop mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. These conditions may be onset by the process of adjusting to civilian life. Mental illness makes it incredibly difficult to function properly, especially if it is not treated. Instead of seeking treatment, many veterans turn to drug and alcohol use. The effects of mental illness and substance use can exacerbate each other leading to severe mental impairment.

While serving in the military, soldiers may develop injuries from enduring physical hardships. Injuries suffered during service can lead to chronic pain and even disability. To cope, veterans may become addicted to drugs that temporarily relieve pain. Healthcare agencies have also been criticized for overprescribing addictive drugs to veterans.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health issue onset when someone witnesses a traumatic event. People can experience PTSD without being in the military, but it is much more common for soldiers. Combat is one of the most traumatizing things a person can experience. Seeing the loss of life and brutal injuries leaves irreparable scars on a person’s brain.

PTSD is triggered by intrusive memories, flashbacks, or nightmares that can occur at any point in time. It can severely impact day-to-day life, leading to dysfunction and mental impairment. Some symptoms of PTSD include

  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Horror
  • Detachment from family and friends
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Numbed emotions
  • Difficulty concentrating

If veterans do not receive professional treatment for PTSD, their symptoms could worsen. Additionally, substance addiction can increase the intensity of PTSD and cause prolonged brain damage. Give us a call about our PTSD treatment in Houston if you have any questions.

What Challenges Do Veterans Face When They Return to Civilian Life?

Returning to civilian life can be an extreme challenge for veterans after spending time in the military. The military ensures that soldiers follow a rigid, strict schedule daily. When soldiers return from service, they may experience stress, anxiety, and confusion from adjusting to everyday life.

Some adjustments that veterans have to make after service include

  • Seeking new employment
  • Building and restoring relationships
  • Battling mental and physical pain caused by military service
  • Finding structure without a strict regiment every day

Even though veterans experienced civilian life before deploying, it may seem foreign when they return. The military transforms people into well-oiled combat machines that follow strict orders. The underlying mental and physical damage that soldiers experience is not typically seen until after service.

Veteran Alcohol Misuse

Veteran alcohol misuse is a leading problem affecting our country. The excessive use of alcohol on military bases has led to a massive alcohol dependency problem for men and women who have served in the armed forces. Following rigorous training and combat mission, many soldiers “take the edge off” by drinking alcohol. Drinking after work is not a healthy pattern, especially after soldiers have returned home.

Alcohol as a Coping Mechanism

Instead of having healthy coping mechanisms, soldiers deal with their problems by drinking alcohol. Following service, veterans struggle to function in their civilian life. Excessive drinking can lead to unwanted health issues and mental damage. Alcoholism can cause people to become angry and violent when they are under the influence. It also leads to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.

Drinking alcohol can temporarily relieve pain, but it is not a long-term solution. While in the military, soldiers may be used to binge drinking every night with their comrades. During this time, these men and women may not even realize they have developed an alcohol addiction. Only when returning to everyday life do veterans realize they can’t control their drinking habits.

After returning from service, it is important to have healthy coping skills. It is necessary to talk about your thoughts and feeling with a trusted loved one or a licensed therapist. It is not a sign of weakness to share your emotions. It is a brave action to seek help when you are in need.

Statistics of U.S. Veterans With Substance Addiction

An alarming number of veterans suffer from a substance use disorder. Substance addiction is most prevalent in veterans with a co-occurring disorder such as PTSD. 20% of veterans with PTSD are also diagnosed with a substance use disorder.

According to the American Addiction Center, Marijuana is the leading drug used, followed by heroin. Heroin accounts for 10%, and cocaine accounts for 6% of all admissions to veteran substance abuse programs. When veterans no longer have access to prescription drugs, they may turn to illicit drugs to achieve the same relief. At our heroin detox center, we accept veterans dealing with addictions to opioids, and other substances.

Of all veterans with substance addiction, 4 out of 5 struggle with alcohol. A study on soldiers after returning home showed that 25% misused alcohol and 12% showed behavioral problems related to alcohol. This has led to harsh criticism of the leaders of the U.S. military.

The most concerning statistic about veteran substance addiction is that 90% do not receive addiction treatment. It is crucial that veterans seek treatment when diagnosed with a substance addiction. Healthcare providers should be aware of the struggles that veterans face so they can have proper resources available.

Substance addiction can affect anyone at any point in time. However, people who have experienced hardship and trauma may be more susceptible. Addiction can quickly take hold of your life, but here is hope for vets in need of treatment. Veteran substance abuse programs have the means necessary to treat our country’s heroes.


How Do People Use Alcohol to Deal With Stress and Traumatic Events?

Drinking alcohol is one of the most popular pastimes in our society. When used in moderation, alcohol may not be dangerous, but it is essential to be cautious of its effects. If used to treat feelings of stress and anxiety, you will never receive the healing you are looking for.

Alcohol is an easily accessible remedy for temporary pain relief. However, the damage it causes will leave you worse than before. Alcohol works by raising dopamine levels in the brain and blocking negative thoughts. Although you may feel less stressed while drinking, alcohol will intensify anxious and depressive feelings after the high wears off.

You don’t have to be a veteran to have PTSD. Trauma can occur at any point in your life. Some examples of traumatic events include car accidents and sexual abuse. Experiencing a traumatic event can leave permanent scars on your brain that require medical treatment. Instead of seeking help, many people turn to alcohol as a quick fix. The brain will never heal if you follow this pattern. If you feel that you are dependent on alcohol, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Our inpatient alcohol rehab in Houston, could help you make a major positive change in your life.


Receive Veteran Substance Abuse Treatment at Magnolia City Detox in Houston, TX

Veterans are made up of brave men and women that put their lives on the line for our country. It is only right that they receive top-of-the-line care. Numerous veterans suffer from substance addiction due to the mental and physical hardship they have gone through. Unfortunately, many veterans never seek help for substance use disorder.

At Magnolia City Detox, we believe America’s heroes deserve the best. Our veterans’ alcohol rehab and veteran substance abuse programs are tailored to meet the needs of those who have honorably served in the U.S. military.

If you or a loved one has served in the U.S. military and may benefit from our services, feel free to contact us at your convenience!

Dr. Olaniyi O. Osuntokun

Dr. Olaniyi O. Osuntokun is a Neurology & Psychiatry Specialist based in Conroe, Texas, and Lafayette, Indiana. He has extensive experience in treating Individuals with substance use disorders and addiction. He earned his medical degree from University of Ibadan College of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

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