Like many people, veterans can often suffer from substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders. Many veterans have had traumatic experiences while serving their country. From injuries to heavy combat, and witnessing the death of close friends, it is understandable how veterans can develop substance addictions and mental health disorders.
Here at Louisville Addiction Center, we offer rehab for veterans in Louisville, Kentucky. As a veterans addiction treatment center, we provide TRICARE addiction treatment for veterans. Veterans have unique needs when it comes to substance abuse and mental health disorders. We understand that and offer specialized treatment.
Due to the high levels of stress veterans experience during a combat deployment, veterans can return home with high levels of trauma or mental health disorders. They can experience life-altering injuries and or the following:
As a result of these and other factors, veterans can turn to substances to cope with their unique traumas. Sadly many veterans don’t get the help that they need. This is due to the social stigmas that exist around mental health and substance abuse in the military.
Many service members will not risk using drugs while on active duty. This is because it would result in a dishonorable discharge. However, alcohol use and binge drinking has been known to be a large silent aspect of military culture.
This drinking often continues after they return to civilian life. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has stated that 65% of veterans entering treatment centers used alcohol as their primary substance of choice. This is near twice the rate of civilians.
Veterans who abuse alcohol have a higher risk of:
Thankfully, opioid addiction is less common amongst those with a military background than civilians. However, vets are still affected by opioid use. Many veterans have been prescribed painkillers for injuries they sustained during their service.
These drugs are highly addictive, especially when the person is also dealing with a mental health diagnosis. Vets have also been prescribed opioid prescriptions for their mental health diagnosis. As a result, those diagnosed with a mental health disorder were more likely to become addicted to prescription opioids.
A co-occurring mental health disorder is when an individual is dealing with a mental health disorder along with a substance use disorder. Co-occurring mental health disorders are especially common among veterans. This is because veterans can experience mental health issues like anxiety and depression due to the trauma they may have experienced. They may also use substances to self-medicate.
Unfortunately, depression is quite common in the United States. Moreover, depression is even more common among veterans. A 2014 study found that veterans were more likely than non-veterans to have depression or anxiety. This is a result of the high-stress levels and exposure to combat many veterans have experienced during their service.
Anxiety is typically characterized by feelings of dread and worry. This can have physical symptoms as well such as rapid heartbeat and sweating. Many veterans have trouble readjusting to home life after their service.
In combat, vets have to be on their toes to survive. This often continues well after their service. As a result, veterans can be left with intense anxiety post-combat. When anxiety continues and interferes with day-to-day life, this can be characterized as an anxiety disorder.
Symptoms like problems sleeping, nausea, and shaking can occur on a regular basis. At this time, it is difficult to know what exactly causes an anxiety disorder. However, researchers believe factors like exposure to stressful life events, shyness, and parental history of mental illness can be risk factors. As a result, veterans are at risk of developing an anxiety disorder, especially if they have a parental history of mental disorders.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme high and low emotional periods. Someone with bipolar disorder may feel extremely energetic and unstoppable for days at a time. In contrast, they can feel exhausted and drained for days at a time after feeling emotional highs. These high and low periods can make it very difficult to function at work and in social settings
At this time, no one knows what causes bipolar disorder. However, research suggests that there are a few factors that could make it more likely that someone develops bipolar disorder.
These factors could play a role in developing bipolar disorder. Stressful life events and drugs and alcohol are especially relevant for veterans.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur when someone experiences a traumatic event. Sexual assault, betrayal, combat, and emotional and mental abuse can cause PTSD. The person can often relive the traumatic event they have experienced. The traumatic event can manifest itself in dreams and be brought on by various triggers.
As a result, people with PTSD may find themselves avoiding:
Individuals will avoid these triggers because they remind them of their trauma. This causes shame, embarrassment, and even self-loathing.
TRICARE is the healthcare program for the U.S. military. It is a government-managed single-payer health insurance. TRICARE covers addiction treatment. However, some services depend on the person’s specific plan.
TRICARE covers the following for addiction treatment:
If you or someone you love is experiencing substance use and mental health disorders, the Louisville Addiction Center offers rehab for veterans in Louisville, Kentucky. We are a veteran’s addiction treatment center.
We understand the unique treatment needs of veterans. The traumatic experiences that veterans have often experienced cause co-occurring health disorders. We have the expertise and programs to help with addiction treatment.
Contact us to start your treatment journey.
Addiction and co-occurring disorders don’t have to control your life. Louisville Addiction Center is waiting with open arms to give you the tools necessary for lasting change. Reach out to us today to learn more.