PTSD Worsens for Veterans During COVID-19 Pandemic
Active duty and retired veterans at some point during their lives were willing to give up everything to protect their country, and for many, the weight of that sacrifice is difficult to carry.
May is Military Appreciation month a time to honor everyone who has served in a branch of the U.S. Military. This month, across America, there is also an effort to raise awareness about mental health disorders. By understanding how these disorders can affect service members and veterans, in a unique way, those who are suffering can start to see treatment in a new light and begin to heal.
One of the highest risk groups for both PTSD and addiction is the veteran population. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, veterans who seek out treatment for a SUD are often diagnosed with PTSD
But far too often, U.S. military veterans do not receive the level of care needed to treat PTSD—not because treatment isn’t available to them—but because asking for help can be the most challenging part.
“Lack of trust, being viewed as weak, and fear of judgment are a few common contributors that hold veterans back from asking for help and receiving the treatment they desperately need,” said Andy Ansola, Salute to Recovery Group Facilitator at Recovery First Treatment Center.
The Salute to Recovery program is a specialized addiction treatment program for veterans and first responders. Blended in with this program is treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders that commonly affect active-duty military and veterans, like PTSD.
Now, after more than two years of living through the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S military veterans living with PTSD, substance use disorders (SUD), or other co-occurring mental health conditions, have been especially impacted.
“The pandemic, coupled with attitudes about receiving professional care and the perceived stigma from others, has left veterans in an extremely vulnerable place, resulting in many self-medicating as a coping mechanism,” said Ansola.
Ansola stresses how getting treatment is not a sign of weakness but it shows courage to ask for help.
“The suffering will only persist if you continue to do this on your own. “Seeking help is the most difficult thing to do when trying to manage something that is completely out of your control. And that is exactly what PTSD is—totally and completely out of your control, especially when it’s untreated.”
If you are struggling with substance misuse and a mental health disorder such as PTSD and looking for inpatient rehab near Miami our Recovery First Treatment Center can help kickstart your recovery. Remember, addiction and mental health treatment is only the beginning of a recovery journey. To maintain sobriety, Recovery First will work to ensure you have the aftercare resources needed to maintain your sobriety.