Substance abuse is, unfortunately, a common problem for veterans. For some veterans, there is a connection between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse or addiction. Accordingly, it is important for veterans and their loved ones to recognize the potential symptoms of substance abuse so that the problem can be identified as early as possible and help can be provided.
Signs of Substance Abuse or Drug Addiction
You may be suffering from substance abuse or addiction if:
- You cannot control your drug or alcohol use.
- Your school or work responsibilities suffer because of your substance use.
- Your substance use has created health problems or injuries.
- Your substance abuse had led to legal problems.
- Drugs or alcohol are affecting your relationships with family, friends, or loved ones.
- You’ve abandoned friends and family for “drug friends.”
- You must use substances to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
- You are taking dangerous risks while using drugs or alcohol.
- You use drugs or alcohol to escape your feelings, pain, or emotions.
- You no longer enjoy activities and hobbies that you were once interested in.
- Your substance use is causing financial issues or you are stealing to buy drugs or alcohol.
- You feel that you use drugs or alcohol to treat a mental health condition.
- You feel the constant need to maintain a supply of your drug of choice.
- You want to stop using drugs or alcohol but you can’t.
- You focus large amounts of time and energy thinking about or acquiring drugs and alcohol.
It is important not to blame yourself or be ashamed of your substance abuse issue or drug problem. It is common among veterans and it is often connected with a mental health issue such as PTSD.
It is also important to understand that there are avenues for help and that the VA is in place to get you treatment and support. To learn more about how you can get help, contact your local VA office or talk to your doctor. If you have questions about receiving benefits for your service-connected disabilities, please call our experienced veterans’ disability attorneys at 800-800-6353 to get answers.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.