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Trauma and Alcohol Abuse in the Military

member of the military dealing with trauma and alcohol abuse

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. This is especially true for those who have experienced trauma. Many military service members have experienced trauma during their time in service. And for some, this trauma can lead to alcohol abuse. While alcohol may seem like a way to self-medicate and cope with trauma, it can actually make trauma worse and can contribute to other mental and physical health concerns.

A trauma-informed therapy program can help you heal from trauma and cope with any resulting mental health concerns. Recovery Bay Center provides effective, evidence-based trauma therapy that can help you on your journey to recovery. If you’re a veteran, active service member, or first responder struggling with trauma, alcohol abuse, or depression, we can help. Contact us today at 833.991.2955 to learn more about our programs and how we can help you heal.

The Connection Between Trauma and Alcohol Abuse

There are a number of reasons why trauma and alcohol abuse may go hand-in-hand for military service members. Trauma, which can include everything from combat trauma to witnessing a traumatic event, can lead to a number of mental health concerns. These include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.

Alcohol is commonly used as a way to self-medicate for these mental health concerns. However, while the short-term effects of alcohol may seem to offer some relief, the long-term effects can actually make it more difficult to process trauma in a healthy way.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol is legal, easy to obtain, and socially acceptable in many situations. For these reasons, it can be difficult to spot the signs of alcohol abuse, especially in the early stages. However, there are some warning signs that may indicate a problem, such as:

  • Drinking more or for longer periods of time than intended
  • Experiencing blackouts or memory loss
  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Neglecting work, school, or other obligations
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Suffering from physical health problems

It can be difficult for those in the military to seek help for alcohol abuse. There can be a stigma attached to admitting that there is a problem. However, it’s important to seek help if you are struggling. Alcohol abuse can lead to a number of other mental and physical health concerns, and it can make trauma harder to process.

Treatment for Trauma and Alcohol Abuse

The most effective treatment for those who are struggling with trauma and alcohol abuse is a dual diagnosis treatment program. This type of program addresses both concerns simultaneously in a supportive, healing environment.

Patients in a dual diagnosis program will work with a team of mental health professionals to address their trauma and alcohol abuse. Treatment may include individual therapy, group therapy, medication management, and other evidence-based approaches. During treatment, participants discover the underlying causes of substance use and mental health issues. They discover healthy coping mechanisms and learn how to manage trauma in a healthy way.

Self-medicating with alcohol for depression, anxiety, or trauma can make these problems worse. A different way forward is possible with the help of a trauma-informed therapy program.

Find Hope and Healing at Recovery Bay Center

Our trauma-informed program at Recovery Bay Center can help members of the military learn how to manage their mental health. Whether you’re reaching out for help for the first time or you’ve been in treatment before, our programs can provide the support and guidance you need to heal.

Our residential men’s treatment center in Panama City Beach, FL can help you on your journey to recovery. We understand the unique challenges that members of the military face. If you’re ready to take the first step, contact us today at 833.991.2955 or reach out to our team online.