Prescription drug addiction is one of the leading addictions in the country to date. It is popularly abused by almost every age group, including the elderly and older generations. Veterans are one of these groups who have been known to suffer often from alcoholism and other kinds of substance abuse due to distress from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), depression, anxiety, stress, and more. Many of us would like to think that our veterans would be immune to such diseases, with the image of strength and loyalty, and perseverance they have. The truth is that our veterans definitely are at risk for developing a prescription drug addiction, and an outstanding number of them suffer from it already.
While it may seem trivial, many soldiers get injured in combat, defending their posts, and while in training. This is one of the first and foremost beginnings of prescription drug addiction amongst veterans. From strained backs all the way to the loss of one or more limbs, our soldiers can and do experience serious injuries during battle, and those injuries can continue to be a problem long after they have come home. These physical injuries often are treated with pain killers, such as opioid painkillers, which are the leading abused drug in the nation. Over time, treating long-term and chronic pain can lead to a dependence on the medication. What once was “assistance for pain management” becomes a “necessity” for those who fall prey to pain killer addiction. The trade is more often not even worth it. The body will begin to strictly need opioids to function on any normal level; the dependence becomes a full-blown addiction in which the medications are substantially abused, creating a higher risk for overdose or death.
A well-known root for prescription drug addiction is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Aside from physical wounds, veterans often suffer from many mental and emotional wounds. Seeing comrades die in combat, surviving through heavy fire, or living on high alert for extended periods of time—all this takes a toll on the human psyche. Many veterans come home suffering from PTSD, which can take control of them at any time, from certain triggers. Triggers can be symbols, objects, random memories, and more. It differs from person to person. In any case, PTSD is difficult to live with, and thus, the answer for many is medication. Be it anti-anxiety pills, anti-depression pills, or other medications, and veterans are often given the pharmaceutical route in order to cope with their lingering problems. Over time, this practice of medicating the issue can also lead to dependence and addiction. Regardless of whether the prescribed medication is addictive, it opens the door to popping pills that are seldom good or helpful in an individual’s life.
Veterans are amongst the greatest heroes of our country. Seeing and knowing that they are increasing in cases of addictions is truly a painful thing to behold. For treatment of PTSD or other lingering stressors in a veteran, seeking holistic and therapeutic remedies as opposed to prescription medications is a sure-fire way to not only alleviate symptoms but also avoid addiction. In recent times, efforts to reach out to addicted veterans have improved, but there is still a long way to go.