Veterans and Addiction

Submitted by Paul Clarke, Addiction worker, Ocean Recovery Centre, 24 Aug 16
You may be surprised to learn that veterans are able to survive war zones but struggle to survive a peaceful environment when they return home. However, when veterans return from combat, they face multiple challenges as they adjust into ‘normal life’ outside of the military. These challenges are often complicated by traumatic events they have experienced whilst in the military. Unfortunately, the events of war do not remain on the battlefield and instead spill over into the personal lives of those that experience them.

These traumatic events often take a significant toll on veterans psychological well-being. Unfortunately, many veterans attempt to cope with these challenges by ‘self-medicating’ with drugs and alcohol.

Below are a number of signs that may indicate you or your loved one may be addicted to drugs or alcohol:
Finding any excuse to drink or take drugs
Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when drink or drugs are not consumed
Experiencing anger when considering cutting down on drug or alcohol use
Requiring more drugs and alcohol in order to ‘function’
Withdrawing from family and professional responsibilities.

The reasons for drug or alcohol abuse in veterans are many and are discussed along with guides for partners and family members to alleviate the symptoms in the Ocean Recovery Centre website. The information is free. Detox programmes/courses are available for a fee. Further information can be found here.