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Veterans & Unique Issues
Stress: Transition to Civilian LIfe
- Transitioning from military to civilian life often causes a considerable amount of stress for Veterans.
- Unlike military life, which is highly structured with a clear chain of command, civilian life is generally very unstructured which can be very challenging to navigate. It's an extreme and abrupt change to ones lifestyle.
- Finding a job, finding housing, getting transportation, family issues and coping with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are a few of the transitions and challenges that could trigger overwhelming stress.
- The overwhelming stress of military to civilian life may cause some veterans to rely on substances such as alcohol, marijuana or opioids opioids to cope.
Chronic Pain from the Battlefield
- Chronic pain is a major problem for many veterans, due to battlefield injuries.
- Chronic pain affects 60% of veterans who served in the Middle East, and more than 50% of older veterans in the VA health care system.
- Chronic pain is often treated with opioid painkillers, which can lead to a substance use disorder, especially if the Veteran turns to heroin.
- Some Veterans turn to alcohol to help them cope with chronic pain, due to the belief that alcohol isn't as risky to use as prescription opioids.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Exposure to combat and other life-threatening situations can be very traumatic. It can lead to both physical injuries and long-lasting psychological wounds.
- Veterans often have high levels of PTSD from experiences during combat, terrorist attack, or other traumatic incidents while serving in the military.
- Female veterans are at a higher risk of sexual assault, which most often leads to PTSD.
- PTSD is very common among veterans – it affects 1 in 3 veterans who seek help for a substance use disorder.
- Veterans often try to cope with PTSD by drinking heavily or using other substances to help cope with their emotional and psychological pain.