As we celebrate Veterans Day this week, let’s keep in mind all the sacrifices the men and women in our military have made for our freedom. Not only do they put their family and life on hold to fight for us, but they take on the long term risks of doing so.
Our veterans and service people struggle a great deal with things like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or anxiety disorders, which can lead to many other conditions. These disorders cause stress and anxiety on a daily basis. Much of it comes directly from witnessing combat situations and seeing real devastation firsthand. Others suffer head trauma and must go through months or years of therapy and surgery to recover. These are things that linger, even when their time of service is over, and these are things we need to be grateful for our soldiers being brave enough to take on.
PTSD and Drug Abuse
PTSD can often lead to drug and alcohol abuse. Someone that has sleepless nights because they replay a trauma in their minds, or someone who is fearful during the day may try to medicate themselves with drugs or alcohol. The numbing feeling substance abuse produces seems like a better alternative than the anxiety of PTSD. Self-medication can quickly lead to addiction, and too many service men and women have made it through their tour of duty alive, only to ruin their lives when they get back home with substance abuse.
Prevention and Treatment
The military is working on a few things to help these men and women as they struggle to get back into society. Prevention techniques are very important. Sometimes this is in the form of educational materials to let people know the dangers of PTSD and drug abuse, and how to prevent it. Often, a soldier will go through intensive counseling and psychotherapy to help minimize the effects of PTSD. If we can help people with these disorders get treatment, and feel they are in control of their life again, we can hopefully stop some of the substance abuse that is bound to take place.
When a veteran gets caught up in substance addiction, years of their life can be taken away. There is treatment designed specifically for veterans, and professional treatment is often necessary to help overcome an addiction.
Let’s thank our service men and women this week, but let’s not forget about them the rest of the year. We can support programs that give our veterans help for injuries or trauma they have experienced. We can support treatment centers that provide a way out of substance abuse for these people. We owe it to our veterans to do all we can to get them the dignified help they need.