The Most Commonly Abused Substances by Veterans

Published On: September 5, 20233.6 min read720 wordsCategories: Addiction Treatment And Rehab, Veterans

Substance abuse among veterans is a constant issue. Readjusting to civilian life brings plenty of challenges and a different kind of suffering as these individuals work on reintegrating themselves into society in a new way. Today we’re going to take a closer look at veterans and addiction and identify the substances most commonly abused by those who are struggling with unprocessed military trauma.

Veterans, trauma and addiction

The intense experiences and various traumas that veterans undergo are on a level that most civilians cannot even fathom. The toll these events take on a person can cause significant and long-lasting effects in more than one area of their lives. 

The ways in which veterans suffer from their service in the military are numerous and depend on unique personal factors. Individual experiences are different, as are the various types of military trauma. Similarly, certain people are more sensitive to or mentally affected by these experiences than others.

Professional help is the best way for these men and women to begin processing their traumas and achieve some level of healing. Unfortunately, stigmas around military personnel seeking professional help can prevent active military members and veterans from getting the treatment and support that they need.

Without the relief that professional support and services can provide, many veterans turn to other means in an attempt to manage the painful symptoms of their traumas. Self-medicating with drugs and alcohol is one of the most common coping mechanisms.

Commonly abused substances

Addiction is not uncommon among those serving as well as those who previously served, with over one million veterans actively suffering from a substance use disorder. 

Marijuana, alcohol and psychotherapeutic drugs, such as antidepressant medication are the most commonly misused substances by veterans. One in four veterans struggle with a drug use disorder (prescription or illicit), while four in five veterans struggle with an alcohol use disorder.

Veteran substance abuse statistics

Substance use disorders should never be taken lightly, and the risk of developing one is much higher when the person is a veteran. Military traumatic events are horrific and leave a long-lasting negative impact on the veteran’s mental health.

While all states in our country provide a few different veteran treatment programs, not all of these programs are created equally. The economic status within these states (and their budget for assisting in these services), as well as other unique factors all play a role in this.

In North Carolina: 

  • Less than two percent of the veteran demographic seeks professional help for mental health or substance abuse issues
  • More than 3,300 people were admitted into alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers in 2018, but only 87 of these individuals identified as veterans
  • The veteran demographic has a suicide rate that’s 1.5 times higher than the average. 

Knowing where to begin with researching and finding the right recovery program for yourself can be overwhelming, but it’s essential. When left untreated, addiction can be extremely hazardous to a person’s health and well-being, and in the worst cases, can lead to organ failure and death. 

Don’t worry — we’re here to help you navigate through each phase of this journey.

Find a veteran program near you

Freedom Detox is proud to be part of the Veterans Affairs Community Care Network (VA-CCN), a chain of facilities approved to accept veteran benefits and provide them with the care they need. 

Partnering with the VA-CCN allows us to administer prompt and industry-standard treatment (as well as convenient access to other forms of behavioral healthcare) to the men and women who have served our country. You deserve the highest quality of support, and we’re here to provide that.

Start your recovery today

Freedom Detox is a premier rehabilitation center located in the foothills of North Carolina that specializes in inpatient detoxification treatment for various substance use disorders. 

Though we have a top-tier team of medical staff available, we are not a hospital-style setting. Your safety and comfort are our top priorities, which is why we’ve settled our recovery center right outside of Charlotte where you’ll be constantly monitored for signs of discomfort, mood fluctuations and withdrawal symptoms.

To learn more about how we can help you or someone you know take the first step towards sobriety, a healed mind and a fuller life, contact us today at (800) 475-2312.

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