Interventions for Soldiers and Veterans

Interventions for Soldiers and VeteransMilitary personnel, veterans and families of soldiers must deal with the aftermath of traumatic events such as combat exposure, multiple long deployments and physical injury. Death and tragedy are unfortunately common experiences for military personnel, and the consequences of military experience can be anything but rewarding for some soldiers and veterans. The sights they have seen, places they have traveled and loneliness they have felt can lead to physical and psychological damage. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) are common psychological disorders that are found in active members of the military and in veterans. Flashbacks including reoccurring images and sounds can haunt a person and lead to sleepless nights, hallucinations, delirium, paranoia, anxiety or depression. Soldiers and vets may turn to drugs or alcohol to relieve the pain, escape from reality or cope with tragedy trauma and loss.

Is Substance Abuse Common Among Soldiers and Veterans?

The Department of Defense’s Survey of Health Related Behaviors reveals that prescription drug abuse and heavy alcohol use has become a significant problem among active soldiers, returning soldiers and veterans. Prescription drug abuse rates have almost tripled from 2005 to 2008, it is estimated that 27 percent of soldiers who have returned home are at risk for alcohol abuse. Mental illnesses such as PTSD, TBI and depression are reported to affect close to 20 percent of active military personnel and 42 percent of soldiers who have returned home. These mental health conditions can trigger substance abuse problems. When someone is dealing with both a mental health concern and substance abuse, the results can be fatal. Behavior may be erratic, hostile, aggressive and unwarranted. Abuse, fighting, arguments, violence and suicide are all possible for a soldier who is dealing with co-occurring disorders. The Department of Defense’s survey shows that drug or alcohol use was involved in 30 percent of the Army’s suicide deaths from 2003 to 2009. Drugs or alcohol were also found in more than 45 percent of non-fatal suicide attempts from 2005 to 2009.

Getting a Soldier or Veteran into Rehab through an Intervention

Substance abuse and mental health disorders affect each soldier and his or her family differently. However without proper treatment both addiction and mental health issues will progress. They perpetuate one another and lead to a number of severe consequences to one’s physical and psychological health. The earlier a soldier or veteran finds help, the better the chances are that he or she will find lasting benefit from treatment. Getting a soldier or vet into addiction recovery treatment can be difficult. Families may be frightened or unsure of how to approach the subject. The soldier or vet may have shown aggression, hostility or denial at earlier suggestions of finding help or reducing drug or alcohol use. However these thoughts, actions and feelings are not controlled by the subject. He or she is a victim to the disorder or addiction and may need caring family and friends to gently push him or her into treatment. This is why an intervention may be the best route for finding help. Soldiers are able to see how their disease is affecting their loved ones, and they may be motivated to get help. Staging an intervention is a complex process, and families or friends should get help from a professional interventionists to make sure the event runs smoothly and is as effective as possible.

Help for Families Affected by a Soldier’s Substance Abuse

Families or loved ones of a soldier or veteran may also reap the effects of combat, deployment and injury. When getting help for a loved one, families and friends may need treatment too. Quality treatment programs will offer individual or family counseling and therapy for everyone who has been affected by the situation.

Stage an Intervention

If a loved one has returned home and is facing a mental health and/or substance abuse issues, please get help now. The longer you wait, the more devastating the consequences become. Call our toll-free helpline to get information on interventions, treatment programs and recovery services. We are here 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have. Don’t risk losing a life that means so much to you. Please get help now.

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