As we head into the summer months, you may find yourself planning outdoor activities and get-togethers with friends, but it’s important to take the time to acknowledge the sacrifices of the men and women in our armed forces as well. Our courageous men and women in uniform, while symbols of strength and dedication, are also some of our most vulnerable citizens due to the many obstacles they must endure.
Between struggling with the stress of multiple deployments and the difficulty of reintegration into everyday life, it’s not uncommon for Veterans to return home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. While PTSD is not an issue exclusive to Veterans (anyone who has witnessed or experienced tragic or startling events can be classified as having this affliction) but enduring warfare and combat makes military personnel more likely to be subjected to it. The stress of dealing with this condition causes many Veterans to turn to substances such as alcohol, illicit drugs, or opioids to cope, creating a vicious and often deadly cycle of dependence.
Studies have shown that approximately 2 in every 10 Veterans with PTSD struggle with addiction and 1 in 4 military deaths can be attributed to substance abuse. While PTSD sufferers use drugs or alcohol to manage their condition, the opposite is far more likely to happen. For example:
- PTSD sufferers are prone to having trouble falling or staying asleep and often turn to drugs or alcohol to relax, but they can have a negative impact on the quality of sleep and leave sufferers feeling less refreshed.
- PTSD often creates a feeling of depression and a decrease in self-worth. As many are aware, alcohol is a depressant and can, therefore, increase these negative feelings.
- Using drugs and alcohol to avoid bad thoughts, memories, dreams, or situations may seem like a way to control PTSD, but avoiding problems means a lack of progress in managing the condition.
While this pattern is alarming, there is hope in the form of treatment. VA facilities have made it easier for servicemen to get help for their addictions as well as their co-occurring PTSD. With individual or group treatments, behavioral therapy, and closely monitored medication, it is possible to manage these afflictions.
At Ridgeview Ranch, we respect and admire the service of our uniformed men and women. The Ridgeview Ranch facility is proud to have recently been approved to become a provider of VA services and will begin implementing drug and alcohol treatment to Veterans. Our staff is honored to be given the opportunity to help military personnel find a healthier path and look forward to working with them in the very near future. If you’re interested in learning more about the type of drug and alcohol treatment services that we offer Veterans in the Los Angeles area and how to obtain these services, please visit: https://ridgeviewranchca.org/Veterans/. Or if you prefer, call Ridgeview Ranch for a new beginning at 877-526-7706