Combat-Related Addiction

Combat-Related AddictionMany organizations focus on military personnel, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the U.S. Departments of Defense, Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics and Veterans Affairs. Their attention is warranted when you consider the following statistics:

  • 2012 is the 11th straight year the U.S. has been at war
  • There are over 23.4 million U.S. veterans
  • Over 2 million veterans and counting are from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • 1 in 4 veterans ages 18-25 met the criteria for substance abuse disorder in 2006
  • 1.8 million veterans of any age met the criteria for having a substance abuse disorder in 2006
  • 81% of jailed veterans had a substance abuse issue prior to incarceration
  • There are 140,000 U.S. veterans in prison, and 60% of those have a substance abuse problem
  • There are 130,000 homeless U.S. veterans, and 75% of them suffer from substance abuse problems

Substance abuse and military life are deeply connected, which is why many programs seek to help soldiers who abuse drugs.

Concerns about Soldiers and Drug Abuse

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) prescription drug abuse doubled among U.S. military personnel from 2002 to 2005, and it almost tripled between 2005 and 2008. However, alcohol abuse is the most prevalent problem. When a soldier has a mental health issue and abuses drugs, the situation is even worse; this combination was involved in 30 percent of the army’s suicide deaths from 2003 to 2009, and in more than 45 percent of non-fatal suicide attempts from 2005 to 2009. In response to the growing concern about combat-related addiction and mental health issues NIDA has sponsored 14 different research initiatives to explore the following topics:

  • Therapies for co-occurring disorders, such as depression and substance abuse
  • The effectiveness of early interventions for returning soldiers
  • The high rates of smoking among military personnel
  • The impact of substance abuse prevention for children of soldiers

National resources are required to help the military personnel.

Causes of Combat-related Addiction

Soldiers who suffer from both addiction and mental health issues cite the following reasons for their struggle:

  • Loss – The potential death of one’s self or a friend is quit high in the military. Feeling responsible for the death or injury of anyone can be traumatic.
  • Daily trauma – Each day includes situations that involve death. These situations fuel adrenaline, so soldiers live in a state of hyper-alertness that is wearing both physically and emotionally.
  • Fear – The fear of personal harm can lead to anxiety and panic issues.

When a person’s emotional state is on constant alert, this often leads to any of the following symptoms:

  • Agitation or excitability
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Headache

These factors can contribute the statistics on combat-related addiction.

Addiction Help for Soldiers

Being away from your loved one makes soldiers feel disconnect, but we can help you reconnect with your loved ones. You don’t have to handle this alone, because we are here to help. If you think you could benefit from addiction therapy, call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about addiction help for soldiers.