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Veterans and Addiction

Both active-duty and retired members of the armed forces face various issues when they return home. More than 2 in 10 veterans face problems with PTSD and substance use. The stress of training, multiple deployments, and other facets of military life can account for differences in substance use between service members.

Veterans deal with a variety of stress whether they are deployed or when they’re back home. The thing is, many women and men who are serving or has served have struggled with addiction. Furthermore, veterans and addiction can be linked to those who have seen combat and may have co-occurring disorders such as depression and PTSD. 

Veterans and PTSD 

Veterans suffering from addiction usually have co-occurring post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD can be caused by various things such as severe shock, battle fatigue, witnessing warfare, or a significant event. 

While most veterans with PTSD are due to combat, in other cases, the disorder can be linked to sexual abuse. According to the addiction center, about 23% of female veterans have reported being sexually assaulted during their time in the military.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms can be triggered by anything that is a reminder of the traumatic experience endured. 

Veterans and SUD

In addition to Veterans coming home with PTSD, more than  2 of 10 veterans also have a substance use disorder(SUD). Veterans with PTSD are often prescribed anti-anxiety medication to help with the symptoms of the condition. The issue with these types of medicine is that it is highly addictive. 

While SUD can be linked to veterans with PTSD, there are times where they can be addicted to painkillers to treat combat-related injuries. 


In summary,  veterans returning home from deployment or already retired from their service may have co-occurring disorders such as PTSD and SUD.  Even though the rate of substance abuse among veterans decreases in the U.S., it is still an issue that needs to be continually addressed. Monument to Women Veterans has programs dedicated to helping veterans struggling with PTSD, SUD, or need a temporary home. The program operates as a total drug and alcohol-free environment. 
Get in touch with MWV today to support retired or active-duty members.

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