PTSD & Substance Abuse among Military & Veterans. PTSD, otherwise known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, causes substance abuse in military veterans. It is a psychiatric disorder that can occur after witnessing or experiencing a life threatening event. These traumatic events can include anything from military combat, being homeless, serious accidents, abuse, physical or sexual assault or witnessing the death of another person.
Living with PTSD or trauma is real. It is exhausting and without treatment often leads to severe depression and/or addiction. Survivors sometimes describe themselves as symptom free immediately following an event of this nature. However, closer examination often uncovers unresolved problems including nightmares, intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, difficulty finding pleasure in life, relationship problems and feeling numb. Over a period of time, these symptoms may escalate, sometimes leading to avoidance of crowded areas, inability to venture outside or participate in once pleasurable activities and scanning rooms to look for danger. The body is not meant to be in a constant fight or flight mode and many individuals may find themselves constantly angry, isolated or feeling alone. Partners or spouses may feel shut out and relationships may deteriorate.