Because of the trauma that many military men and women experience, mental health disorders commonly arise. Without the right treatment or resources to rely on, these mental health conditions can spiral out of control and quickly leave one feeling isolated, lost and desperate.
Some people are more prone to mental health conditions than others due to factors like genetics, family history and even physical health. Other factors may predispose an individual to develop a diagnosis, including their occupation. For veterans, being part of the military is one such occupation more prone to the development of a mental illness than other careers.
Military men face unique challenges
Combat service members regularly face life-threatening situations, and many suffer from violence-related injuries, traumas and can also lose companions during deployment. Combat and non-combat veterans can suffer from moral injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Life post-service can also be challenging, and veterans can struggle with employment, finances or changes within their family life and social systems.
Transitioning into civilian life
Over 200,000 men and women leave the military each year and face readjustment to civilian life. While some might assume this would be an exciting time in their lives, it can be difficult for many veterans.
Veterans who experienced a traumatic event suffered an injury, lost someone they knew in combat or who fought in active combat are statistically noted to struggle more with the transition. In order to properly readjust to civilian life and handle the consequences of experiences like these, proper mental health care is crucial.
Many veterans do not receive the right treatment
There are a number of reasons why veterans are not getting the treatment they need. Firstly, there is a stigma associated with substance use disorders. Zero tolerance policies in the military and drug testing done at random may contribute to resistance to asking for help. Approximately half of military personnel believe that treatment would actually harm their military career.
Additionally, “According to a study conducted by the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research, less than half of returning veterans needing mental health services receive any treatment at all, and of those receiving treatment for PTSD and major depression, less than one-third are receiving evidence-based care.”
If they are not seeking out care or are not getting the proper care they need, veteran mental health will continue to decline.
Co-occurring disorders are common
Co-occurring disorders are when someone suffers from both a mental health disorder and substance use disorder. While any two can present simultaneously, the most common co-occurring disorder veterans encounter is PTSD and alcohol use disorder, as noted in this article from Alcohol Research: “In national studies, 55 to 68 percent of veterans with probable PTSD, compared with 40 to 55 percent of veterans without PTSD, showed evidence of having AUD … A review of VA electronic medical records indicated that 63 percent of veterans with AUD and 76 percent of veterans with comorbid AUD and drug use disorder also had a PTSD diagnosis.”
In order to promote proper healing, it’s crucial to find a treatment that addresses both the mental health concern and the substance use disorder.
Mental health resources for veterans
Because of the challenges veterans face, in order to promote the best quality of life it is important to seek out a treatment facility that is evidence-based so that all mental health and co-occurring disorders can be addressed.
Certain benefits, like those offered through programs like the Veterans Affairs Community Care Network (VA-CCN), can help achieve this goal.
The VA-CCN is a group of pre-approved mental health treatment facilities that accept veteran benefits for behavioral healthcare, allowing more convenient and timely access to treatment. Not only are these facilities required to meet industry-standards guidelines of treatment, but they also offer benefits like assistance in paying for services.
Enroll in treatment today
Silvermist is proud to be a member of the Veterans Affairs Community Care Network (VA-CCN) and offers a variety of programs designed to help veterans meet their mental health goals. To learn more about our programs, contact Silvermist by calling (724) 268-4858 to get in touch with an admissions counselor today.