Even after our vets put down the rucksack and return home to civilian life, the wounds and burdens of service are an enduring and heavy load that they have to carry. As a society, there’s so much more that we can do to help support those very ones who fight for our freedom. It starts with understanding. So, whether you are a veteran yourself or worried about a loved one, read on to learn more about the messy mix of depression, anxiety, addiction, and PTSD that often besieges our vets — and what you can do to solve it.
Veterans & Mental Illness
It’s a sad fact: Veterans are more than twice as likely as regular civilians to be diagnosed with PTSD. The scars of battle aren’t only those that we can see.
However, that’s not the only burden that our veterans have to carry during and after service. More than 20% of the veterans who struggle with PTSD are also fighting addiction. What’s more, those struggling with addiction are three to four times as likely to be diagnosed with mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or insomnia as regular veterans.
In short, our veterans are hurting and they’re all too often turning to drugs and alcohol to cope.
Overall, roughly 10% of America’s veterans are waging a battle with addiction, but not one of those looks alike. Some might have developed an addiction to painkillers after receiving a prescription from the VA for an old battlefield injury. Others might drink themselves to sleep every night in the hopes of keeping the demons at bay. Still others might waste away the entire weekend in a haze of marijuana smoke.
No matter what it looks like or how far down you think you’ve gone, when drinking or drug abuse is having a negative effect on your life, it’s time to reconsider your habits. If you’re not sure whether drugs and alcohol are the reason for your worries, take a break for a month. If you make it through and things are still the same, there might be more areas of your life that need changing. If you can’t make it through, then maybe you need help to quit for good.
Today, we know that drug and alcohol abuse is often just the symptom of deeper trauma and mental or emotional issues. Most reputable addiction treatment facilities take what is known as a trauma-focused approach that treats the disease from that standpoint. In addition, some facilities like Country Road offer “dual diagnosis” programming, which allows you to get treatment for your addiction and the other mental health issues that might be tangled up in it.
For example, you can find a solution for your depression that doesn’t involve drinking, or finally get a prescription for your bipolar disorder that works.
What that looks like day to day is different for every individual that enters treatment. Your personalized treatment plan will be shaped to fit your needs and solve your problems. It might include traditional addiction treatment methods like talk therapy, group therapy, or CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). It might involve experiential therapies like equine therapy or time with a therapy dog.
When you enter a reputable addiction treatment facility like Country Road, you can trust that the entire team will work together to create a plan that will help you start down a new road to recovery.
Paying for Treatment as a Veteran
In many cases, you may be eligible for free substance abuse treatment through the VA. You also have the option to pay cash for a program of your choice. Sometimes, the cash pay rate is less than what you might have to pay with insurance.
No matter what you choose, navigating payment and insurance can be confusing. The best thing you can do is ask the experts: Our Admissions and Marketing Director, Drew La Boon, is a veteran just like you, and can walk you through your options and what you can expect on the road of recovery.
If you are exhausted and frustrated by the vicious cycle of addiction, you can change direction and start a new path at Country Road Recovery Center in Tecumseh, OK. Call today.