Examining and Addressing Addiction and PTSD in Veterans

It Should Never Go without Saying: Addressing PTSD and Addiction among Veterans

As Recovery Unplugged observes Veterans Day, it’s impossible to ignore the impact that trauma and PTSD have on the Veteran community, specifically the level of frequency at which they can lead to substance abuse. If you are or you know a military Veteran who is struggling with trauma, PTSD, addiction, or all three, you’re not alone. Between combat-related physical and psychological trauma, the all-too-common inability to successfully transition back into everyday life after service, and the often-difficult time they have accessing employment, healthcare and other essential elements of civilian life, far too many Veterans have had their lives upended by trauma and subsequent self-medication with alcohol or other drugs.

How Common Is Addiction and PTSD among Veterans?

Data from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs indicates that:

  • More than half of all Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom suffer from PTSD in a given year.
  • Approximately 12 percent of Gulf War Veterans struggle with trauma and PTSD.
  • Over 30 percent of all Vietnam War vets will experience PTSD at some point in their lives.

When it comes to the connective tissue between PTSD and addiction, the Department reports the following:

  • Over 20 percent of Veterans with PTSD also struggle with addiction.
  • Almost 30 percent of all Veterans seeking treatment for substance use disorder have PTSD.
  • Over 10 percent of Iraq and Afghan War Veterans seen in VA have a problem with alcohol or other drugs.

How Can I Help A Veteran Struggling with PTSD and Addiction?

Make an effort to understand what your friend or loved one who has served is going through and be compassionate and understanding with them. Don’t pressure them to share too much about their experiences and don’t automatically assume they want you to thank them for their service. If they’re suffering from co-occurring PTSD and addiction, encourage them to go to support groups and meetings as a bridge to entering treatment. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs offers comprehensive resources to help you find support in your area.

Helping Addicted Veterans Find Recovery and Peace of Mind

Recovery Unplugged is keenly aware of the challenges facing Veterans struggling with addiction and PTSD. The state of Virginia has one of the largest Veteran populations, many of whom struggle with PTSD. Our addiction treatment center in Virginia is ready to help you or your loved one if you’re affected. We also offer addiction treatment in Florida, Texas, and other locations across the country to help all American Veterans regain their health, peace of mind, and quality of life. Contact us now to start treatment.