Veterans and Substance Abuse
in Orange County

Table of Contents

Substance Abuse Disorder (SUD) is a serious problem that affects many veterans. Studies have shown that veterans are more likely to experience SUD than the general population, with rates of alcohol abuse being particularly high. The causes of SUD can be complex and can include deployment, trauma, and the stress of transitioning from military to civilian life. SUD can have serious and far-reaching consequences, both for the individual and for their loved ones. This blog aims to provide a comprehensive overview of SUD in the veteran community, including its causes, symptoms, consequences, and treatment options, and to raise awareness of this important issue and provide support and resources for veterans struggling with SUD.

Causes of Substance Abuse Disorder

The causes of Substance Abuse Disorder (SUD) are complex and can vary from person to person. However, some common factors include:

  • Trauma: Exposure to trauma, such as combat or military sexual trauma, can increase the risk of developing SUD.
  • Stress: Chronic stress, such as the stress of deployment or the stress of transitioning from military to civilian life, can lead to substance use as a coping mechanism.
  • Depression and anxiety: Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety can contribute to the development of SUD.
  • Social and environmental factors: Factors such as peer pressure, access to substances, and lack of support can increase the risk of SUD.

Symptoms of Substance Abuse Disorder

Substance Abuse Disorder (SUD) can have a range of symptoms, from mild to severe, that can affect an individual’s daily life. Some common symptoms of SUD include:

  • Changes in mood and behavior: Individuals with SUD may experience mood swings, irritability, and changes in behavior.
  • Physical symptoms: Symptoms such as tremors, sweating, and nausea can occur during withdrawal or as a result of substance use.
  • Difficulty functioning in daily life: SUD can interfere with work, relationships, and other aspects of daily life.
  • Increased tolerance: Individuals with SUD may require larger amounts of a substance to achieve the same effects.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: Symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and irritability can occur when an individual tries to stop using a substance.

It is important to note that these symptoms can vary depending on the type of substance being used and the severity of the SUD. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek help

Consequences of Substance Abuse Disorder

  • Physical health problems: Substance use can lead to a range of physical health problems, including liver damage, heart disease, and stroke.
  • Mental health problems: SUD can worsen mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety and can also lead to the development of new mental health problems.
  • Financial problems: Substance use can lead to financial difficulties, such as lost income, increased healthcare costs, and legal problems.
  • Relationships problems: SUD can strain relationships with friends, family, and loved ones, and can lead to social isolation.
US flag and a officer saluting people in an auditorium

Treatment Options for Substance Abuse Disorder

There are a range of effective treatment options available for Substance Abuse Disorder (SUD), including:

  • Behavioral therapies: Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing, can help individuals with SUD to change their substance use behavior.
  • Medications: Medications, such as naltrexone and methadone, can help to reduce cravings and prevent relapse.
  • Support groups: Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, can provide a supportive community for individuals with SUD.
  • Residential treatment: Residential treatment programs, such as inpatient rehabilitation, can provide intensive treatment and support for individuals with SUD.

The best treatment approach for SUD will depend on the individual, their substance use history, and their specific needs and circumstances. It is important to work with a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment