Substance Use Disorder and PTSD Take Severe Toll on Veterans .pdf
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Substance Use Disorder and PTSD Take Severe Toll on Veterans
Even the men of our powerful military are not spared from the worst of mental pain. Combat
exposure and multiple deployments across conflict areas take a radical toll on the mental and
physical health of army personnel, often triggering addiction. Veterans, who have witnessed the
gruesome acts of violence within and across the borders, are the worst sufferers who are trying
to find solace in the form of substance use.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) seems to be a common thread for the most American
Veterans. In fact, many Veterans who have been battling substance use disorder (SUD) have also
been victims of PTSD. The effect of being a part of a war zone makes them use substances and
leaves a deep impact on their mental health.
Existence of PTSD and SUD in Veterans
The U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs (VA) came up with some
understand the prevalence of cooccurring disorders involving
PTSD and SUD. Some key
observations that were made are:
About two out of 10
veterans suffering from
PTSD also have SUD.
Approximately one out of
three Veterans who seeks
treatment for SUD also
suffers from PTSD.
Six out of 10 Veterans with PTSD also smoke, while only three out of 10 without PTSD also
have smoking habits.
The VA also highlighted that in the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq, about one in 10 soldiers who
returned from the combats had problems of drugs and alcohol. It was also found that Veterans
who had PTSD and alcohol issues were generally binge drinkers. Such habits can be the
consequences of trauma experienced during wars.
Addressing the problem with effective dual diagnosis treatments
Veterans who have both PTSD and SUD are prone to adverse symptoms that can make the
treatment difficult. In fact, substance use can worsen the PTSD symptoms. For example, PTSD can
cause sleep problems. When one starts taking alcohol or drugs to manage sleep problems, it can
aggravate the sleep pattern and trigger insomnia.
However, treating both the conditions simultaneously is the key to recovery. The VA has also made
treatments available to its Veterans. They can seek treatment at a VA facility and can consult
experts of dual diagnosis in an outpatient or inpatient treatment facility.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has proved to be an effective treatment option for reducing
PTSD symptoms and for understanding the reasons behind addiction. Therapists help patients
understand the causes of co-occurring disorders. The therapy can be given both individually or in
Some PTSD-centric psychological treatments like Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) or Prolonged
Exposure (PE) can help in the treatment of PTSD. CPT helps manage the distressing thoughts and
understand the reasons behind the uncanny brainwork. PE helps an individual face his traumarelated thoughts and situations that they he had been avoiding.
Apart from the therapies, medications that aid in the treatment are also used, depending on the
severity of the condition and the substance abused. Regular counseling sessions, along with the
12-step therapy, can help rebuild the life of an individual or a Veteran devastated by war.
If you or your loved one is a military personnel or a Veteran and has been a victim of co-occurring
disorders, seek dual diagnosis treatment in California or in any state you reside. The California Dual
Diagnosis Helpline can help you find customized programs from the most reliable dual diagnosis
treatment centers in California. Speak with our trained representative at our 24/7 helpline number
855-980-1736 for more information regarding dual diagnosis treatments.
For more information, please visit