Stress, anxiety, and other mental health disorders are some of the most common triggers for substance abuse. Among the veteran community, this population is highly susceptible to stress and other traumas that are known triggers for substance addiction and alcohol abuse. PTSD, in particular, is incredibly distressing and veterans and members of the armed forces have some of the highest rates of PTSD than any other demographic group.
PTSD from war and combat was first noticed and acknowledged in the U.S. after the Civil War. It was referred to as “soldier’s heart.” Veterans returning from combat in WWI and WWII were referred to as “shell shocked” when exhibiting signs that doctors now recognize as PTSD.
Modern wars are much different than wars that previous generations have experienced, and addiction and substance abuse rates among veterans returning from combat in the War on Terror are rising. As more veterans return from these wars with mental and physical disabilities from their deployment, substance abuse rates increase.