Deployment is an issue that most military members must face. It is a stressful and frightening time for everyone involved. Heading into a foreign land, losing the sense of security and saying goodbye to friends, family and home is a lot to take on even for the strongest of individuals. Deployment can lead to overwhelming emotions such as the following:
These feelings can be seen as a sign of weakness or inferiority, and this is why many soldiers attempt to hide their issues of stress before, during and after deployment. Keeping stress hidden intensifies the already negative feelings.
Drugs and alcohol can mask the hurt and stress caused by deployment while allowing the soldier to maintain a surface identity as a strong and capable individual. However this image will not last, and continued use of drugs and alcohol results in long-term consequences.
Addiction Resulting after Returning Home from Deployment
Returning home post-deployment is a stressful time, and many soldiers find it difficult to readjust to home life. During deployment a soldier is dedicated to a cause and is constantly working to and for that cause. Having to go back to work and perform “normal” everyday activities can be strange, dissatisfying and uncomfortable.
The physical and psychological requirements of a soldier during deployment are demanding, and when discontinued a soldier may feel out of place. Returning home can be even more deflating for soldiers who entered war zones or witnessed traumatic and stressful events.
Coping with loss and trauma from deployment is especially difficult, when a soldier feels like no one back home understands or wants to listen to the horrific events they witnessed. Posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, chronic pain or illness can all contribute to struggles post-deployment and may be the cause of substance abuse and depression.
How Family Is Affected by a Loved One’s Deployment
Deployment affects those left behind. Worry, concern and anxiety over a loved one’s life will cause a great deal of stress. Family members will miss their loved one and will be required to take on responsibilities and roles that the loved one has left behind. Taking care of children, the house, finances and other tasks can be exhausting. Adding these stressors to feelings of loneliness, sadness and concern can cause family members to turn to drugs, alcohol and addictive behaviors.