When it comes to substance use disorder, no story is ever a carbon copy of the other. This is especially true as it relates to veterans. At Sana Lake Recovery in Dittmer, Missouri, we offer a vast array of individualized treatment options for veterans who suffer from substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Over the past few years, substance abuse rates are growing more and more prevalent; this is especially true of those who are veterans or military service members.
Why Do Veterans Turn To Drugs And Alcohol?
There are many reasons why veterans may turn to drugs and alcohol. For some, it may be to self-medicate for conditions like PTSD or pain. Others may turn to substance abuse as a way to cope with the stressors of readjusting to civilian life. Some veterans may also be introduced to drugs or alcohol while serving in the military, which can lead to addiction later on. Whatever the reason, it’s important to get help if you’re a veteran struggling with substance abuse.
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can develop after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and feelings of isolation, and treatment often includes therapy and medication. PTSD was first brought to public attention in the 1980s when it was recognized as a response to combat experiences. However, it is now known that this disorder can occur after any type of traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, a car accident, or a sexual assault.
Approximately 3.5% of adults in the United States will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. Women are more likely than men to develop it, and people who have experienced multiple traumas are at greater risk. PTSD can occur immediately after a traumatic event, or it may not develop until months or even years later. Symptoms typically fall into four categories: intrusive thoughts, avoidance, negative changes in mood and thinking, and changes in physical and emotional reactions.
Intrusive thoughts may include flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive memories of the event. Avoidance can involve avoiding people, places, or activities that remind you of the trauma. Negative changes in mood and thinking may include feeling isolated, hopeless, and distrustful of others. Changes in physical and emotional reactions can include being easily startled, feeling on edge, and having difficulty sleeping.
Veterans and Substance Use Disorder by the Numbers
According to a study done by the Department of Veterans Affairs, about 20% of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are addicted to drugs or alcohol. However, this number is likely higher because many veterans do not seek treatment for their addiction. Addiction can lead to homelessness, job loss, and financial instability.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 20 percent of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and many of them turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Studies have shown that veterans are twice as likely as non-veterans to suffer from substance use disorders.
This is a serious problem because substance abuse can worsen PTSD symptoms and make them harder to treat. If you or someone you know is a veteran with PTSD or substance use disorder, it’s important to get help from a qualified mental health professional. At Sana Lake Recovery, there is a plethora of qualified mental health personnel.
What Percentage of Veterans Misuse Drugs and Alcohol in Missouri?
Substance abuse is a major health concern for veterans in Missouri. According to the latest data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), about 5% of military veterans reported misusing alcohol in Missouri. This number has stayed relatively stable over time but continues to be higher than the national average of 4%. Over 10% of veterans in Missouri also reported misusing prescription medications, higher than the national average of 8%.
In addition to alcohol and prescription drug misuse, about 4% of veterans in Missouri reported using marijuana or other illicit drugs. This number is slightly lower than the national average of 5%. While not as high as some other states, these statistics are still concerning, particularly when looking at the mental health of veterans.
What are the Signs of Veteran Substance Abuse?
Several signs may indicate that a veteran is struggling with substance abuse. These can include changes in mood or behavior, withdrawal from friends and family, problems with work or school, and financial problems. Veterans may also start to take more risks, such as driving under the influence or engaging in risky sexual behavior.
Some substances that are commonly misused by veterans and active duty service members include the following:
- Prescription drugs
Alcoholism is a chronic and progressive disease that is characterized by an individual’s inability to control their consumption of alcohol. This results in harmful consequences both to the individual and to those around them. Some of the short-term effects of alcoholism include impaired judgment, slurred speech, and vomiting.
Long-term effects can be much more serious and include liver damage, brain damage, and even death. Alcoholism often leads to relationship problems, financial difficulties, and employment issues. It can also lead to legal problems, such as DUIs. Alcoholism treatment typically includes counseling, support groups, and in some cases, medication.
Opioid abuse is the use of opioids for non-medical reasons. Opioids are a class of drugs that includes prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine, as well as the illegal drug heroin. Opioid abuse can lead to many serious health problems, including addiction, overdose, and death.
The effects of opioid abuse can be both short- and long-term. In the short term, opioids can cause drowsiness, slowed breathing, and euphoria. Long-term effects of opioid abuse can include insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Opioid abuse can also lead to tolerance, which means that a person needs to use more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect.
There are a variety of mental health disorders that veterans can experience in addition to PTSD, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders. Veterans may also experience problems with anger and impulsivity, which can lead to difficulties in interpersonal relationships and at work. Some veterans may develop psychotic symptoms, including paranoia and hallucinations. These symptoms can be extremely distressing and can make it difficult for veterans to function in everyday life.
Suicide Risk and Substance Abuse Among Veterans
Substance abuse and suicide are both serious problems that can plague veterans. Veterans may be at an increased risk for substance abuse due to the stresses of military life, such as combat exposure, readjustment to civilian life, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some studies have shown that up to one-third of veterans seeking treatment for substance abuse also have suicidal ideation.
Veterans may be particularly vulnerable to suicide during the transition from military to civilian life. The loss of structure and support that comes with leaving the military can make it difficult to adjust to civilian life. Veterans may also struggle with finding a job, housing, and other basic needs. The stress of these transitions can lead to mental health problems, which may in turn increase the risk of suicide.
Nearly One-Third of the Homeless Population are Veterans
According to a report from the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, it is estimated that nearly one-third of all homeless people in the United States are veterans. And of those veterans, a staggering 70% suffer from some form of addiction.
For many veterans, addiction stems from self-medicating to cope with the trauma of their experiences. When they return home from combat, they often find themselves struggling to readjust to civilian life. They may be unable to hold down a job, and their relationships may suffer. As a result, many turn to substances as a way to numb the pain.
Sadly, this only makes things worse. Addiction takes a toll on every aspect of a person’s life, and veterans are no exception. Substance abuse can lead to homelessness, joblessness, and even suicide. It’s a vicious cycle that is all too common among those who have served our country.
Why Don’t Veterans Find Treatment?
There are several reasons why veterans may not seek treatment for substance use disorder. Some veterans may be reluctant to admit they have a problem because of the stigma attached to addiction. Others may not be aware that help is available, or they may think that treatment is too expensive.
Additionally, some veterans may not want to leave their families or jobs to enter treatment. Finally, some veterans may be reluctant to seek help because they fear that doing so will jeopardize their military benefits.
Treatment and Rehab for Substance Abuse in the Military
One of the most difficult parts about dealing with substance use disorder is accepting the reality of it; it’s even more difficult to recognize the need for treatment. In addition to this, seeking out treatment could seem like an insurmountable mountain.
Sana Lake Recovery in Missouri offers individualized treatment for veterans experiencing addiction, PTSD, and other mental health disorders. Some of these treatment options include the following:
Do Veterans Qualify for Insurance for Addiction Treatment?
Veterans qualify for insurance for substance abuse treatment. There are several insurance options available for veterans seeking addiction treatment, such as Tricare Insurance. Veterans Affairs (VA) provides health care benefits for eligible veterans, which can include coverage for addiction treatment.
Other private insurance companies also offer plans that may cover some or all of the costs associated with addiction treatment. Some facilities may also offer sliding scale fees based on income. It is important to check with your insurance provider to see what coverage options are available to you.
Are Veterans Eligible for Optimum Healthcare Insurance?
Optimum Healthcare covers drug and alcohol rehab for veterans. They provide a variety of services that support veterans in their recovery from addiction, including access to medication-assisted treatment and mental health services. In addition, they offer coverage for a range of different therapeutic interventions such as individual counseling, group counseling, and family therapy.
They also provide coverage for residential treatment programs, including inpatient and outpatient care. This coverage is provided through both Veterans Affairs (VA) Benefits and Optimum Healthcare.
Optimum also offers a variety of financial assistance options to help veterans pay for their treatment services. Eligible people may qualify for VA benefits such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill or the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program. These programs provide financial support towards paying for treatment services, as well as additional assistance with things such as housing costs and tuition fees. Optimum Healthcare also offers many payment options that can help veterans pay for their treatment.
Optimum is committed to providing veterans with the highest quality of care and services. They have a network of providers that specialize in treating veterans, ensuring that each veteran receives the best possible care for their individual needs. Additionally, Optimum offers assistance with submitting claims to the VA or other insurance companies, so veterans can receive reimbursement for treatment costs quickly. Veterans also have access to 24/7 customer assistance, so they can get help with any questions or concerns they may have.
Optimum Healthcare also provides several programs and support services, such as telehealth services, mental health counseling, addiction treatment, financial literacy classes, and more. These programs are designed to ensure that veterans get the best possible care for their unique needs and circumstances.