With so many of our men and women coming back from Afghanistan, Iraq, and other hot spots worldwide with physical and mental injuries, it is not hard to understand why so many develop substance abuse problems.

Dealing with a physical injury and PTSD can have the veteran looking for ways to self-medicate with alcohol and prescription pain pills. 

Know the signs of PTSD

Watch for these signs of PTSD if your loved one is a veteran.

  •     Flashbacks
  •     Memory problems
  •     Low sense of self-confidence
  •     Despair
  •     Sleeping issues
  •     Relationship problems
  •     Hostility
  •     Lack og concentration
  •     Self-destructive conduct (self-harm or substance abuse)

If you notice any of these signs, talk to your loved one about seeking help with a therapist for PTSD in combination with medication. 

Medications that can cause addiction 

Common medications that are addictive that are prescribed to veterans include

  • Pain killers
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Sedatives

These medications are used to treat anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances. The problem is they are only treating the symptoms and not the cause. However, many veterans feel that a therapist does not understand, especially one who has not seen battle. The veteran may also think that seeking counseling is a sign of weakness. As a loved one, you need to reassure the veteran that it is a sign of courage to seek help. 

Other therapies that can be used in conjunction with pain medications are 

  • Massage therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Exercise
  • Hot/cold packs
  • Pain relief sprays such as Salonpas lidocaine or Aspercreme Lidocaine

Alternative therapies that can be used with small doses of pharmaceutical drugs can be a great way to keep from becoming addicted. These methods should always be tried first before going straight to prescription pain killers or anxiety and sleep medications. If they do not work, then add the prescriptions in small doses to make the symptoms manageable. 

Veterans and addiction

If you are concerned that a veteran you know and love is already addicted, then it is time to speak to him or her about entering a recovery program. Most recovery centers treat dual diagnoses today, unlike years ago.

Seeking help with addiction may allow the veteran to get help with more than the addiction. They can talk to therapists about their mental health as well. If they can begin to understand that the mental health issues they are facing along with the physical pain have led to their addiction, then they may be more interested in addressing those mental health problems.

At 449 Recovery, we address not just physical addiction but also underlying mental health issues. We provide tools such as cognitive behavioral therapy that allows the veteran to understand the negative view they have can be changed. We have a continuously monitored detox program as well. Call us today (855) 435-7449 to learn more about the treatments we offer. Therapy includes individual, group, and family therapy that will help the veteran achieve and maintain their recovery. Our goal at 449 Recovery is to treat and help our veterans learn the tools to lead a sober life.