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Military service members experience unique mental health challenges. However, it’s not only such service members who deal with the consequences of these challenges but also their families. Military families may also experience additional challenges, specifically in recovery. These challenges can gravely impact the recovery journey for soldiers returning from active duty, veterans, and their families. 

When mental illness and addiction are involved, it is only a matter of time before the whole family will experience consequences. Military spouses may turn to substance use themselves to manage stress, children may be impacted, and other adverse circumstances may arise. That’s why military families must have support. Meanwhile, West Coast Recovery Centers can support military families struggling with many challenges. Consider working with us if you or someone you love is part of a military family and struggling with mental health or addiction today. 

Mental Health and Addiction Troubles Among Veterans

Men and women who enlist in the military do so because they want to serve their country. Wanting to serve one’s country is admirable. However, there are more consequences to serving in the military than just the day-to-day dangers. Those who return from combat or other deployments experience a whole new kind of battle on their hands. This battle can’t be seen by themselves or others. It involves transitioning back to their everyday life while struggling with mental health. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) provides several facts about substance use and military life. For instance, “[E]nvironmental stressors specific to military personnel have been linked to increased risk of SUDs among military personnel and veterans.” These stressors may include deployment, combat exposure, and post-deployment civilian/reintegration challenges. Additionally, NIDA also highlights that between 37 and 50% of veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq War have been diagnosed with mental health conditions. 

So, without a doubt, mental illness is a great concern among military families. Unfortunately, not all veterans have access to proper treatment. This causes substance use and symptoms of other mental disorders to worsen. Additionally, lack of treatment may even cause further conditions to develop. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and SUD

NIDA also tells us that about 63% of veterans with substance use disorder (SUD) are more likely to be diagnosed with PTSD. If untreated, PTSD and SUD can become so severe that they lead to seizures, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorders, and may even require intensive psychiatric treatment. 

Another growing concern is the suicide rates among veterans. In 2014 alone, there was an average of 20 veterans dying by suicide daily. The culmination of all these challenges – SUD, depression, PTSD, and risks of suicide – take a great deal on veterans nationwide. They also have a profound on veteran families, as well. 

How Trauma Affects Military Families

Anyone who experiences the distress of war conflict may have an adverse reaction. The body naturally responds to trauma in varying ways. Unaddressed trauma can cause any number of the conditions listed above. 

These trauma-related disorders can evoke trauma responses from family members, too. A spouse or child may turn to substance use to cope with the mental health conditions of their loved one, or they may begin to develop problems with their own mental health.

Other Unique Challenges Faced by Military Families

As mentioned, joining the military and serving your country is admirable. Individuals do so knowing that the journey is wrought with challenges. Men and women go through physical, emotional, and mental distress, and such distress doesn’t always end upon returning home. Some unique challenges faced by military families may include: 

  • Trouble being away from family, friends, and loved ones
  • Concerns about safety and hostile combat zones 
  • The trauma of experiencing death and other complex emotions 
  • Physical demands of working or fighting in harmful environments
  • Potential for physical injury or even death 

In these tense situations, it’s no wonder veterans and their families may be struggling with mental health and addiction. So, how does West Roast Recovery Centers support them, and why should you consider working with us today? 

How West Coast Recovery Provides Support to Military Families

Here at West Coast Recovery Centers, we provide addiction treatment to men and women of the military, whether they’re on active duty, veterans, or members of a military family. Our military recovery programs include specialized outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization, and an intensive outpatient (IOP) day program, all of which can effectively treat clients depending on individual needs. Since 2012, we’ve helped military families heal from SUD by providing the treatment, tools, and support needed to break the cycle of addiction.

One in 10 veterans have SUD, and millions are coping with other mental health conditions like depression and PTSD. If you’re one of those military members, consider treatment today. Our accessible and affordable outpatient military program can put you and your family on a better road toward lifelong healing and recovery. 

Active duty members of the military, veterans, and family members of people in the military experience unique challenges. It’s hard enough dealing with the day-to-day challenges, but when substance use disorder (SUD) and mental illness come into play, the road to recovery can seem even more daunting. One in 10 veterans struggle with SUD, and even more are diagnosed with mental health conditions, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Despite the challenges of managing these disorders, treatment is available for military personnel, veterans, and military families. West Coast Recovery Centers has provided such treatment services since 2012 and continues to do so today. Call (760) 492-6509 to learn how our programs can help your military family today.