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Veterans’ Risks for Drug Abuse

Recent findings from an American research group point to a connection between drug problems in veterans, depression and emotional trauma exposure that occurs as early as childhood or as late as after the end of military service. Diagnosable problems with drugs or alcohol appear fairly frequently in men and women who have served in the military. Veterans’ risks for drug abuse partially stem from the higher rates for the development of major depression or some other depressive disorder. The aftermath of military service and the chances of developing serious drug problems are connected to depression. Reduce veterans’ risks for drug abuse by attending a substance abuse treatment center in Tennessee.

Veterans’ Risks for Drug Abuse

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that men and women serving in the military consume illicit or illegal drugs significantly less often than their civilian counterparts. While roughly 12% of all adults in the general population use drugs in the average month, only about 2% of active military personnel consume an illicit or illegal substance. The same stark difference in usage rates occurs among 18- to 25-year-olds, the age group with the greatest tendency to take drugs inside or outside of the military. Let’s take a look at the chances of veterans’ risks for drug abuse. Unfortunately, men and women in the military do engage in the misuse of prescription medications with unusual frequency. While just 5% of the general public misuses prescription opioids or some other form of medication, the misuse rate in the military is approximately 11%. Not surprisingly, considerable numbers of servicemen and servicewomen develop abuse or addiction problems related to the medications they improperly consume. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that roughly 7% of all veterans have diagnosable abuse or addiction issues associated with the consumption of medications, drugs or alcohol. There is also a significant overlap between diagnosable substance problems and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Figures from the National Center for PTSD indicate that almost one-third of all veterans who pursue treatment for substance problems have verifiable PTSD symptoms.

Veterans and Depression

Major depression is a severe and relatively common illness that can trigger debilitating changes in daily mood and behavior. While depression affects 18.1% of the adult population, it affects veterans with about 33% showing symptoms of depression. Roughly 1 in 8 veterans have major depression requiring further therapy and medication management. Only half of these veterans will receive the treatment they need leaving the other veterans at risk for drug abuse from self-medicating. Previously acknowledged veterans’ risks for depression include service-related disability and a declining ability to maintain a functional, independent daily routine. In the civilian population, older adults affected by depression typically have the highest risks for suicidal thinking and behavior. However, among veterans, younger adults have higher depression-related suicide risks. Other groups of veterans with clearly elevated suicide risks include men and Caucasian Americans.

Trauma, Depression and Drug Treatment

A connection between emotional trauma exposure, PTSD, and drug problems show the increase of veterans’ risks for drug abuse. Along with the general population, veterans’ risks for drug abuse rise with depression symptoms and a previous history of trauma in their lifetimes. Trauma from all sources is relevant, not just the combat trauma exposure that largely differentiates veterans from the civilian U.S. population. Whichever symptom you or a loved one currently faces as military personnel, The Ranch provides specialized treatment programs for veterans at risk for drug abuse. Programs include:

Call addiction treatment experts confidentially at 1.844.876.7680 to reduce veterans’ risks for drug abuse.

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