Each year, hundreds of veterans experience PTSD. Alongside the many symptoms that accompany PTSD, such as nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, panic attacks and more, those who have served in the military tend to experience a tremendous amount of stress upon their return from war. Substance use disorders (SUDs) are extremely prevalent among our military veterans, and unfortunately, many don’t receive the social, financial and mental health support that they deserve.
Substance Abuse and PTSD
As an underserved population, military veterans must struggle through emotional ups and downs after they’ve returned home from war because they’re still mentally in the war. For many veterans, there tends to develop a lost sense of identity. As a person who previously viewed themselves as part of their military family, they’ve now become thrust into a society that they don’t quite recognize. Self-medication is so common, as military veterans try to find an outlet to let go of some of the emotional issues that have set them back over time.
For military men, it can be incredibly frustrating to have served the country making a great amount of money, only to suddenly not “fit in” anywhere into the social norms of the workplace. In these instances, many veterans experience severe difficulties getting back into what is considered a “normal” job, and this can make everything feel even worse.
Previous studies have discovered that in addition to stressors associated with combat exposure and post-deployment civilian/reintegration challenges, veterans may also have their own personal traumas and issues that they’ve been dealing with before they ever entered the military. Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) seem to be the most common substance use concern for veterans, and misuse of prescription drugs, such as opioids, are truly heightened as everybody is trying to find a way “out” of the mental anguish they’re experiencing.
Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders
There are several effective treatment methods for veterans in recovery from SUDs, PTSD, and other co-occurring disorders. Research has explored various treatment options for veterans with these types of issues and found that integrated treatment can have significantly strong effects on relapse prevention, sobriety maintenance, coping skills and so much more.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is one such integrated treatment option that has been proven beneficial in treatment options for veterans. It focuses on past life events with a sincere focus on trying to change the thoughts that are associated with certain mental images. As a holistic form of treatment, EMDR therapy goes through several phases to help veterans associate something else with their past experiences. Exposure interventions that target PTSD are very effective for veterans. Furthermore, studies have confirmed that psychotherapy alone isn’t the best form of treatment for veterans. Other types of treatment like exposure therapy and cognitive processing therapy have both been shown to really help veterans battling PTSD. The most effective treatment option truly depends on the person and therefore they should be given the option to try different types of treatment.
For those who need or seek it, the right psychotherapist can greatly help a veteran. An especially useful psychotherapist could be one who is more direct, less subtle, and will help veterans take ownership of their experiences so that they feel more empowered to move forward.
Despite having gone through extreme mental, physical, and spiritual conditions, veterans can find a life of healing and restoration after obtaining support at Avalon Malibu. Far too often, veterans are left without the proper forms of support. If PTSD, substance abuse and other concerns are present, things can become much more challenging. At Avalon Malibu, the type of support available can be life-changing, which is why help should be sought as soon as possible.
Restoring the Mind, Body, and Spirit
With so many types of treatment and support available, veterans who are battling with mental health and substance abuse issues can find some relief. Psychotherapy, group therapy, 12-Step programs and more can provide structure for individuals ready to tackle their recovery one step at a time. Holistic practices (also known as alternative therapies) can slowly and, over time, help veterans heal some of the deep wounds that may be making it more difficult to move on with their lives.
Recovery takes time, and it’s important for veterans to realize this. However, once treatment is found and practiced, the healing process can begin and that’s when true transformation can take place. At Avalon Malibu, there is an entire team of people who can help veterans work towards their mental, physical and spiritual health. Holistic practices like meditation, massage therapy, art therapy, music therapy and more could even become integrated into treatment if that person finds that it works for them.
If you’re ready to take a hold of your addiction and PTSD, speak with a professional from Avalon Malibu today. It’s time that you’re taken care of and the sooner you seek help, the greater your chances of healing and restoration will be.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 844-857-5992 for a consultation. It’s never too late to begin taking steps towards a happier, healthier life, and there are people here ready to help you.