The challenges our Veterans face when returning from Combat, assimilating to a new life after many years in service or dealing with things such as family separation, loss of a family member, divorce, etc. can many times, if untreated or supported, lead to an alcohol or drug dependency. There are many reasons these dependencies occur:
- Attempting to dull the pain
- Not sure what else to do
- Lack of outreach resources
Going back to previous blogs I've done on combat challenges our Veterans face I had discussed how the human was not created to sustain exposure to such situations. Due to other conditions that may occur a Veteran can turn to drugs or alcohol as a form to self-medicate or correct what they perceive to be an issue they can resolve on their own or are ashamed to seek support for.
Combat veterans have alarmingly high rates of substance abuse problems. There is a clear link between combat trauma and substance abuse. The situations are so extreme and the proper treatment is not readily available making a disastrous intersection. At this intersection the Veteran either can find a support structure or turn to substance abuse. As a Nation we need to clearly understand this intersection and be able to preemptively provide the anticipated treatment in a fashion that is cost effective and blatantly obvious on how to receive it when needed. Most Veterans express their frustration in the fact they don't know the process to get treatment and for those who get into a system, they aren't sure if it's the right one or how to navigate the system to get treatment in a timely manner.
Below are some alarming statistics that have been reported from The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA):
- ALCOHOL USE: Males Veterans 56% vs. Female Veterans 41%
- BINGE DRINKING: Male Veterans 23% vs. Female Veterans 14%
- HEAVY DRINKING: Male Veterans 7% vs. Female Veterans 2%
"One study of almost 600 veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan found 39 percent of veterans screened positive for probable alcohol abuse, 3 percent for probable drug use, and 14 percent for probable post-traumatic stress syndrome," HealthDay reports.
No Veteran should ever feel they are alone or without support of some kind. Many Non-Profits exist to provide therapy that can be of assistance in kicking these dependencies to the curb for good. The programs offer the understanding and comradery that many are lacking. Our Veterans need to be turned to these more productive ways to deal with the stress and anxiety they are attempting to overcome. They are all tired of the beds and meds treatment from the VA, if and when, they get an appointment. Programs that offer therapeutic treatment in a natural setting and through common stress relieving activity are extremely helpful. Two examples I am familiar with are Melwood Operation: Tohidu which offers an all-expense paid 7 day retreat that exposes Veterans to all kinds of Therapy so they can find the one that works for them and Project Healing Waters which provides therapy through Fly Fishing. Both of these programs have amazing reviews and very admirable missions.
Our challenge is to make sure that resources are available, they are known and programs easy to get into. We should make these programs to easy, obvious and desired that veterans feel good about seeking them out and attending.
Landmark Life Coaching's Mission is to honorably and respectfully serve courageous groundbreakers and transitioning veterans to persevere in defining and executing their future by providing an atmosphere of comradery and trust that honors their dedication and commitment. This will empower our clients to feel whole, honored, respected and fulfilled in defining and living their life purpose.