Memorial Day is meant to be a time of reflection in which to honor those who have passed as a result of their sacrifice for our country. While Memorial Day may be a three day holiday for some, it is important not to forget that many of our veterans may struggle with the invisible wounds of combat as they reflect on this holiday.
Co-occurring disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorder (SUD), are prevalent among veterans and the military community.
Survivors guilt – the haunting question of “Why did I come back alive when so many of my fellows died?” – may be close to the surface for some. Others will continue their battle against substance use disorders as they stand in remembrance on this day. Still, others will experience the difficulty of living with co-occurring substance use and mental health complications.
Here are a few statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
- About 7.1% of veterans developed a substance use disorder (SUD) during the period from 2004 to 2006.
- About 2 out of 10 veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) go on to develop SUD.
- About 1 in 6 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns experiences symptoms of PTSD.
- About 1 out of 4 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns report experiencing the symptoms of a mental health disorder.
- In 2004-2006, 25 percent of young veterans aged between 18 and 25 years exhibited the symptoms of SUD or other mental health disorders.
Approximately 50% of returning service members who need treatment for mental health conditions seek it, but only slightly more than half receive adequate care.
Today, when you honor fallen soldiers, be sure to remember that many of our nation’s veterans will continue to struggle with the invisible wounds of combat. If you or a family member is struggling, please know that veterans with substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders have multiple treatment avenues to explore. Recovery is possible.
Those of us at Origins are standing in remembrance today. To the families of the fallen, we are with you. To the veterans who have served, we support you.
If drugs or alcohol are causing problems, we have solutions. 844.843.8935