Active duty military service can be extremely stressful. Families may be separated for long periods of time; members are sent into active war zones at times and are deployed for many months at a time which may increase anxiety. With that in mind is it not unusual for them to turn to alcohol and drugs to cope which can escalate to addiction or alcoholism. According to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, substance abuse among active duty service members has become a public health crisis.

The Department of Defense Report

Addiction help for active duty service members that has been implemented for many years by the Pentagon has been disparaged as ineffective in its ability to help the members overcome their dependency. The Department of Defense reports that at least 27 percent of military men and women have alcohol abuse and nearly 5 million prescriptions for stimulants, tranquilizers, pain killers, muscle relaxers and barbiturates were issued in 2011. That’s five times higher than a decade before! What’s more, the DOD spent $600 million on dependency related treatment for members.

Getting the Appropriate Help Needed

There are many reasons why military persons do not seek treatment such as medical detox and rehab, but one of the main reasons is that substance abuse is a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which constitutes immoral conduct. On the other hand, allowing a drug or alcohol problem to spin out of control and resulting in DUIs is also a violation and can end a military career quickly.

However, in recent years, there seems to be a push for leaders to refer personnel with alcohol and drug abuse issues for treatment in military approved centers. Whereas corporations have made the Employee Assistance Plan available to their employees for many years, the military is just catching on. From their perspective, the position has always been if it detracts from service and if it is not in compliance with the UCMJ, then it is a problem.

The Need for Coping Skills

When military service ends, many former members discover that they struggle to adjust to civilian life and with securing a job. For these individuals, the stress of adjusting to something other than “military life” often times results in drug and alcohol abuse and addiction.

Addiction treatment was designed to focus on the facets of military life and to help service men and women overcome their drug and/or alcohol abuse and become successful in sobriety. The Veterans Administration has been front and center in making sure that active duty, retired active duty and former military service members receive the assistance that they need. There is additional information for treatment through military.com or the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration website.

Author's Bio: 

Lara Schuster writes for Gallus Medical Detox Centers. Gallus Detox provides safe drug and alcohol detox with customized IV therapy to comfortably alleviate withdrawal symptoms and patients are monitored 24/7 by ICU level nurses. This proven detox method was developed by Dr. Patrick Gallus after 15-plus years as an emergency room physician caring for alcohol and drug addicted patients. Gallus Medical Detox Centers features upscale private rooms, HDTV, Wi-Fi and personal massage. Patient confidentiality is always protected.