After leaving active duty, it can be hard for male veterans to reassimilate into civilian life. There are many struggles they have to face, including finding employment, housing, reconnecting with loved ones, and their mental health.
Maintaining good mental health is a serious concern male veterans should have. It’s not uncommon for male veterans to fall into depression or struggle with post-traumatic disorder (PTSD). Often, male veterans will resort to using drugs to cope.
Let’s explore why it’s easy for male veterans to be addicted to drugs and how they can seek help.
Deployment can be extremely stressful
Deployment is one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through. You are often away from your loved ones for long periods of time. You may also have difficulties getting into contact with them.
You have to follow strict codes of conduct and face life-or-death situations. You also have to endure the physical and emotional demands of combat.
Access to drugs
Drugs are relatively easily accessible. These aren’t even limited to illegal drugs. Often, regular prescription drugs are easy to find. If not in the country you’re deployed, a fellow soldier may be able to provide you with some of these substances.
When leaving active duty and returning to the U.S., getting drugs may even be easier. Often, you can go to a doctor and ask for a prescription for opioids or other relevant substances.
Addiction runs in the family
It’s not uncommon for addiction to run in families. This could be due to genetics or simply because you grew up around addiction.
If addiction runs in your family, it’s easy for you to become addicted to substances. You may not even realize you’re addicted because it feels natural to you.
Male veterans may be more likely to self-medicate in order to deal with the symptoms of PTSD. PTSD is a very real and serious condition that can be extremely difficult to cope with.
Some side effects of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and depression. For some men, substance abuse may seem like the only way to numb the pain.
Sense of hopelessness
When male veterans return home, they may feel a sense of hopelessness. This can be due to several factors, such as unemployment or housing insecurity.
This sense of hopelessness can lead to drug abuse. Veterans may see drugs as a way to escape their problems. They may also believe that drugs will make them feel better.
It’s not easy to ask for help
Male veterans may find it difficult to ask for help. There is often a stigma around mental illness and seeking help for these issues. This is especially true for men who have been raised to believe that seeking help is a sign of weakness.
They may also worry about how their family and friends will react if they discover their struggles. Male veterans may feel like they must deal with these issues independently. Unfortunately, that might mean they turn to drugs as a crutch.
What can male veterans do?
If you’re a male veteran struggling with addiction, it’s essential to seek help. There are many resources available to you.
You can start by reaching out to your local Veterans Affairs office. They can help connect you with resources in your community.
Finally, there are many veteran treatment options available. You can choose an inpatient or outpatient program, depending on your needs. There are also programs specifically for veterans.
If you’re struggling with addiction, know that you’re not alone. Many people want to help you recover. Seek out the resources and support you need to get better.