A Critical Assessment Of PTSD In America’s War Veterans: Signs, Risks, and Addiction


If you or someone you know may be suffering from PTSD and is a war veteran, this guide will be a major help. We’ll be doing a critical assessment of this mental illness that has been rampant in many combat veterans that has resulted in numerous suicides.

Every day, 22 war veterans commit suicide due to PTSD and other related issues. It is also important to be aware of the signs, risks, and also the possibility of drug addiction playing a role. Many suffering from PTSD will turn to drugs as a way to control it when it’s an unhealthy option in doing so.

Going to one of the best drug rehab in New York for addiction stemming from PTSD can be the best solution. It’s important to know that you or the person you know is not alone. With that said, let’s take a look now at the following signs and risks of PTSD.

What is PTSD?

PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. This happens when someone has experienced a terrifying event. War veterans may have witnessed conflict that has resulted in the deaths of their fellow military members and also people that had been involved in such conflict.

The Symptoms Of PTSD

The timing of the symptoms can develop anywhere from one month to even years after the traumatic event has occurred. When these arrive, they may cause issues that can affect your personal and professional relationships.

Here are the following signs that people with PTSD may suffer from:

  • Intrusive memories that pop up unwanted
  • Flashbacks or reliving the event
  • Nightmares pertaining to what had happened
  • Emotional distress or physical reactions based on events reminding them of the situation
  • Avoiding thoughts about the traumatic event
  • Negative self-thoughts
  • Detached from people they know
  • Lack of interest in things they love doing
  • Feeling ‘numb’
  • Memory problems
  • Feeling hopeless about future events
  • Trouble sleeping or concentrating
  • Irritable, aggressive behavior (which can lead to angry outbursts)
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Easily frightened or startled

These are just a sample list of the symptoms that many people with PTSD may be dealing with. It is important to know that the severity of these symptoms can change over time. Stress can intensify them, so it is important to keep calm even in times of potential stress.

PTSD Risks

Considering the symptoms, it is important to take a look at the potential risks that can occur. With that said, let’s take a look at the following that may happen with someone with PTSD:

Strained relationships

People with PTSD may behave in a way that could affect personal and even professional relationships. This can include irritability, angry outbursts, and other erratic behaviors. You want to make sure that you understand that a traumatic event is likely of no fault of your own.

They may also develop trust issues with other people and may have a hard time communicating with them. For your part, do your best to be as patient and supportive as possible.

Increased risk of suicide

This usually occurs when the symptoms get intense. It can get to a point where the person may want nothing to do with them anymore. They can get increasingly depressed, and show classic signs such as giving away their belongings to other people, feeling hopeless, and feeling withdrawn among others.

If you notice any potential signs of suicide, you will need to make sure they get the help they need immediately. You may also want to make sure there are no firearms in their possession (as self-inflicted gunshot wounds are common in suicides).

Drug abuse and PTSD

This can result in the above two risks. People with PTSD may rely on drugs to help them ‘escape the pain’. You will need to take a look at the signs of drug abuse so they can get the help they need.

Here are the specific signs you will need to look for:

  • Changes in behavior that are noticeable
  • Lack of motivation
  • Poor work performance
  • Sick looking, may have changes in skin complexion or bloodshot eyes
  • Noticeable changes in spending habits and financial issues
  • Argumentative when substance abuse is mentioned

PTSD and drug abuse are nothing new. In fact, they may go hand in hand with one another. Those who are diagnosed with PTSD will have a greater chance of developing a drug addiction or abusing a substance for the purpose of ‘self-medicating’.

When diagnosed, it may be a good idea to take preventative measures so you or that person does not develop an issue with drugs or alcohol. Regular therapy is common and services are available through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).

You can opt to seek therapeutic options from a licensed therapist outside of the VA. Regardless, finding the best help possible can give you a roadmap to handling your PTSD without developing any kind of addiction over time. While the symptoms can be bad at times, you want to be ready to handle them in the best way possible.

The first step is to keep in mind that drugs and alcohol are not the best solutions. You may be prescribed medication or alternative medicine (such as medicinal marijuana, where legal) to handle your symptoms. Suffering from PTSD is a challenge, but can be handled in healthier ways that won’t result in risking your life.

Final Thoughts

PTSD is a lifelong mental disorder that can be treated. However, substance abuse is not the proper way to do this. It is important to make sure that you or someone you know gets the help they need.

In the event of any substance abuse or addiction, make sure they get the help they need. This can make the difference between saving their life or potentially ending it due to an overdose or suicide. Do whatever it takes to control your PTSD in a healthy way.

Remember that you are not alone and there are always resources available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


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