As we explore the prevalence of drinking in the military, we’ll also examine other reasons surrounding the problem and how alcohol rehab treatment for veterans at Silver Sands Recovery can help overcome addiction. The stress of being in the military can take its toll on those who are on active duty and returning home. This is one of the reasons why many in the military deal with an excessive drinking problem that often leads to addiction treatment.
Statistics on Excessive Drinking in the Military
When you look at the statistics, many active-duty military personnel spend a good amount of time drinking. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control from 2013 to 2017 showed that troops spend more days a year consuming alcohol compared to people in other jobs.
Statistics also show they binge drink (have at least 4-5 drinks in one sitting) at least 41 days a year. That’s also more than people in other occupations.
What’s also alarming is that more than one in ten veterans has been diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder. That’s slightly higher than the general population. Also, 65% of veterans who enter a treatment program report that alcohol is the most frequently misused substance. That is almost double that of the general population.
What’s even more troubling is that, on average, 17 service members take their own life every day, many noting addictions as a significant contributing factor. When you put all of these pieces together, it’s easy to see that drinking is a problem in the military.
Reasons for Excessive Drinking Among the Military & Veterans
The stresses accompanying deployment are among the reasons for excessive drinking among those in the military. Activity duty members are alone, missing their families, and often miss major life events. This can lead them to be lonely and look for ways to cope.
Veterans can also experience feelings of loneliness when they arrive home. They may have trouble getting back into their lives, especially if major life circumstances changed while they were away.
Other reasons for excessive drinking among the military and veterans include:
Increased Exposure to Trauma
Veterans with a history of multiple deployments may turn to substances to deal with nightmares, flashbacks, and other mental health issues that accompany being in the military.
Exposure to combat and violence can also lead some people to turn to alcohol to cope.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Veterans dealing with PTSD due to their deployment may also turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism. Veterans and active-duty service members are at a high risk of developing PTSD because of their exposure to dangerous situations and what they experience as a result. The images and situations may be too much for many to cope with, leading them to turn to alcohol.
Signs of PTSD can include avoiding thoughts or feelings of the trauma, re-experiencing the trauma through thoughts or nightmares, and increased arousal and reactivity. This can include anger, a heightened start response, and trouble sleeping.
Both active military and veterans may face depression from being away from family and dealing with the realities of life when they arrive home.
Veterans experience a high rate of homelessness. Approximately 10% of the homeless population is made of veterans. Nearly 75% of homeless veterans experience mental health and/or substance abuse issues.
Roadblocks to Treatment for Veterans
Some veterans may be deterred by the stigma associated with seeking rehab treatment. Veterans who are suffering from addiction may be reluctant to seek treatment despite the availability of alcohol rehab treatments for veterans. While they may feel this way, seeking treatment is the best option to overcome a substance abuse disorder.
Signs of Excessive Drinking and Alcoholism Among Active-Duty Military
There are many signs that a military member may be drinking excessively. These include:
- An emotional need to drink
- Mood swings and irritability
- Increased depression
- Inability to control the amount of alcohol consumed
- Becoming violent while intoxicated
- Shame and guilt surrounding drinking
If you notice any of these signs, encourage your loved one to get help for their addiction to prevent further damage.
Alcohol Rehab Treatments for Veterans Available for Military Dealing with Alcoholism
Many different treatments can help veterans dealing with alcoholism. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, therapies are the most effective treatments. These include cognitive behavioral therapy. This can help veterans manage their urge to drink and use a problem-solving approach to deal with substance abuse. It can also help them to develop personal goals they can achieve after battling their addiction.
Some veterans may also benefit from medication in addition to therapy. Local VA centers can often offer these services, and private treatment centers such as Silver Sands Recovery.
Alcohol Rehab for Veterans at Silver Sands Recovery
At Silver Sands Recovery, we take alcohol rehab for veterans very seriously. As a facility founded by a veteran, we have a personal interest in every veteran who comes to us for treatment.
We are a contracted community care provider for the Department of Veterans Affairs. This means that the same facilities and treatment available to our patients with expansive health insurance are also available to our veteran clients at a fraction of the cost or for free. When you seek help for treatment, we can look at how veteran insurance for rehab can work in your specific case.
Some of the veteran care services we offer include:
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Small group and individual therapies
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Somatic Experiencing
- Relapse prevention education
- Dual diagnosis for those also dealing with anxiety, depression, PTSD, or other mental health diagnoses
- Continuing care for long-term recovery
For more information on veteran care services at Silver Sands Recovery, call us today or reach out to us online. Let us show you how we care for our veterans when they need it the most.
About the author:
Lisa Waknin is the Founder and Director of Silver Sands Recovery, located in Prescott, Arizona. Lisa started Silver Sands Recovery after immersing herself in the addiction treatment world for several years to figure out what could be done differently to help her daughter and others like her to overcome addiction and stay sober. She believes in a hands-on treatment approach, which includes taking someone out of their environment, providing a 90-day program in a structured environment. During treatment, clients not only recover physically but also learn to live their life again. Lisa is a sought-after expert speaker for recovery support groups, charities, schools, communities, and companies wanting to educate themselves on the explosion of opiate and heroin abuse in our country and the best way to understand, treat, and beat it.