When we talk about veterans and substance abuse, we must be careful not to make too sweeping generalizations. The lives of veterans are as varied as the people who join the military. At the same time, the number of veterans who have PTSD when compared with other sections of society cannot be ignored when discussing drug use.
The rate of PTSD in veterans varies depending on which conflicts they fought in, but it is estimated to be more than 12%.
There are plenty of reasons why veterans often have PTSD. The life a person lives and the things that someone sees in the military can be traumatic, and unfortunately, veterans often do not seek help.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was first known as shell shock in World War 1 and combat fatigue after World War II.
While PTSD can affect anyone, it is so prevalent in people who work in the military as they so often have traumatic events. Many who serve in the military see close friends or civilians die, and are forced to go through incredibly stressful or painful times.
This does not include the military’s long-standing history of having a culture of harassment and sexual assault. These things can be just as traumatic to the people involved as military operations.
The effects of PTSD
For someone who has PTSD, their trauma can haunt them for a long time after the event that caused the trauma is over. It is a condition that is characterized by disturbing thoughts and feelings which is connected to the trauma.
This trauma is sometimes relieved by the people affected in the form of intense nightmares or flashbacks. At times, the details of the event become twisted so that details that did not actually happen begin to feel real.
Symptoms of PTSD can be separated into a few distinct categories. A person who is affected by PTSD often experiences only some of the symptoms in question
Experiencing intrusion means recalling unwanted trauma through intense memories or dreams. It is perhaps the most common and universal of the symptoms of PTSD. People often experience flashbacks, but not everyone who has PTSD experiences flashbacks.
A person who is experiencing avoidance will go out of their way to avoid things that remind them of the trauma that they had.
What a person avoids depends on the trauma which they experienced. As an example, veterans who have PTSD might be unable to watch movies about war or hate the sound of fireworks going off.
Problems with perception and mood
People who have experienced trauma often have their perceptions warped. For example, people who have been victims of sexual assault often feel guilt and shame, despite the fact that they did not choose to experience the sexual assault.
People who have PTSD might see themselves as being guilty or worthless. Some people with PTSD can become depressed and find it difficult to see the joy in activities which they used to do for fun.
Reactivity and arousal.
Arousal in this context can be thought of as tension or irritability. People who have PTSD often have problems with self-control, and can become angry quickly. They can also feel paranoia and anxiety even when they are safe
Veterans and withdrawal
Veterans who are struggling with drugs as a result of PTSD can be overwhelmed by what is also the most difficult part of getting rid of a drug habit, the withdrawal process. Whether you go through an Opiate detox or a Benzo detox, the withdrawal process can be a tough one.
Due to the manner in which drugs can rewire our brains, we might start to have a strong reaction as the drugs leave our system. The body panics, as it has grown used to having the chemicals.
This is a vital part of kicking the habit of drug addiction, but it is also one of the most difficult parts. The body has to evacuate all the drugs in the system of the person and recover from the lack of drugs. It can take a while before a recovering person feels normal again.
It is for this reason that, to provide patients with the greatest chance of a long recovery, a medically assisted detox takes place. Treatment centers can provide detoxes for every drug. Opiate detox, Benzo detox, Meth detox. All these types of detoxes can be undergone at a rehab. It is important that you detox at one of these facilities to increase your chances of obtaining recovery.