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Substance abuse is a psychosocial issue that directly affects many veterans and their families. Substance abuse affects every 1 in 15 veterans that have returned home from war. This is becoming more common because of traumatic experiences, injuries, and mental health issues from being deployed or injured. Many veterans that are injured are treated with strong pain medications and become dependent on them. They also use substances to self-medicate mental health disorders in lieu of getting mental health help. Many times this is attributed to experiences while being deployed. There are many substances that veterans get addicted to, from illicit drugs like heroin, to prescriptions pain medication and more commonly alcohol.
This substance abuse not only affects the veteran but their families, too. Many veterans have spouses, children, and family that can be negatively affected by the veterans substance use. Not only are deployments hard on families, but when a veteran returns from deployment with a substance abuse problem, the spouse is sometimes not equipped to deal with these issues. Many times these veterans lose their families because of their substance abuse. They do not do this by choice but they need more intervention than is sometimes afforded by the VA and many don’t know where to receive the help.
We often time hear about homeless veterans and this is often contributed to their substance abuse. When they return from deployment and do not receive the medical help they need it downward spirals into a full fledge addiction and they lose everything for their addiction.
When veterans come back from deployment they are given a debriefing but sometimes the trauma doesn’t affect them until later. There may be signs that are missed and these folks need interventions as soon as possible, the earlier intervention these veterans receive is a bigger potential to intercept the issue before it becomes a full fledge addiction.
National Veterans Foundation. (2016, September 12). Veteran Substance Abuse - What do the Statistics Tell Us. Retrieved December 17, 2018, from https://nvf.org/veteran-substance-abuse-statistics/
Substance abuse is a psychosocial issue that directly affects many veterans and their families. Substance abuse affects every 1 in 15 veterans that have returned home from war. This is becoming more common because of traumatic experiences, injuries, and mental health issues from being deployed or injured.