Veterans & Recovery
Adult | Family | Prevention | Recovery | Veteran's Benefits
People struggle with addiction for myriad reasons - genetic predisposition, boredom, depression, stress, life-altering injury or loss. But experts agree one of the most common catalysts for substance abuse is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) relative to military service. Whether veterans initially use to escape memories of active combat or simply to ease their return to civilian life, addiction is a major concern among the veteran community.
In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:
- More than 2 of 10 veterans with PTSD also have Substance Use Disorder (SUD).
- War Veterans with PTSD and alcohol problems tend to binge drink.
- Almost 1 in 3 veterans seeking treatment for SUD also has PTSD.
- In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, about 1 in 10 returning soldiers seen by the VA have a problem with alcohol or other drugs.
- The most commonly abused substance by veterans (and active duty service members) is alcohol.
- In a survey of 1,120 recently deployed soldiers, 25 percent had misused alcohol, while a separate survey indicated that 53 percent admitted to binge drinking.
The Military/Addiction Connection
Addiction is common in the military, in part, because heavy alcohol consumption is socially acceptable for recreation, handling stress, and promoting camaraderie among unit members. In fact, military installations frequently offer alcohol at reduced prices to active military members. Military doctors also often prescribe anti-anxiety drugs for veterans soon after discharge, to help them adapt to life after active military service and to treat chronic pain from injuries sustained during combat. As a result, misuse of prescriptions and illicit drugs has risen more rapidly in the United States military than in the civilian population. In stark contrast, the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NCBI/PMC) reports that prescription opioid misuse and the use of illicit drugs such as crack and heroin are notably uncommon in men and women prior to starting military careers.
How to Identify Addiction
Do you or someone you love struggle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol? Here is how to identify a substance abuse problem:
- Changes in Appearance - bloodshot or glazed eyes, dilated or constricted pupils, abrupt weight changes, bruises, infections, or other physical signs at the drug's entrance site on the body.
- Changes in Behavior- increased aggression or irritability, intense cravings, physical dependence, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, engaging in risky behaviors, neglecting responsibilities, developing unhealthy relationships with those who support addiction, isolating behaviors which enable them to try to hide their addiction from friends and family.
- Changes in Attitude/Personality - lethargy, depression sudden changes in a social network, dramatic changes in habits and/or priorities, financial trouble, involvement in criminal activity.
How to Get Help
MFI Recovery Center in Riverside, California offers help for anyone who is struggling with addiction, including former or active military members. To that end, we now accept Tri-Care, which is the health care program for uniformed service members, retirees, and their families around the world. We also honor private-pay, in-network insurance, in-network HMO, Medi-Cal, and private lenders.
About MFI Recovery
Throughout ten facilities in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, we employ the Matrix Model for each individual client, creating a personalized treatment program. Various modalities can include behavior modification,12-step recovery program introduction, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family systems techniques, including the family in group therapy.
Treatment options include outpatient and inpatient detox, medication management (if appropriate), group therapy, individual therapy, relapse prevention education, and ongoing support after treatment.