Many people who abuse alcohol shroud their habits and secrecy in denial, but the numbers don’t lie: More than 6% of American adults misuse alcohol, and nearly 100,000 people die from alcohol-related causes every year. That number is even higher among veterans. If you are a veteran struggling with alcohol abuse, you don’t have to become a statistic. You can get the help you need to heal your alcoholism and the emotional wounds or mental health issues that lie underneath it. Here’s how to start.
What Is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism as a term encompasses a wide range of behaviors of alcohol misuse, from binge drinking all the way up to serious physical dependency. According to the Mayo Clinic, binge drinking can be as few as four drinks in two hours for women, and five or more drinks in the same period for men. But no matter how many drinks you consume and no matter the time period in which you do it, if your drinking causes problems for you it could be characterized as alcohol misuse or alcoholism.
It is a pervasive problem in American society. For example, one study found that more than one in four Americans took part in behavior that could be characterized as binge drinking in a given month . However, binge drinking is not normal and it is dangerous.
A 2017 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that people who drank double the amount of recommended drinks for their gender were 70 percent more likely to go to the ER due to their consumption. For people who drank three times their gender threshold number, ER visits due to alcohol became 93 times more likely.
Alcoholism & Veterans
As a group, veterans are more likely than the average population to engage in abusive or addictive behaviors involving alcohol – despite the military’s attempts to stem it during service and to provide resources afterwards. One study found that roughly 33% of active duty service members are binge drinkers, and that number increases among service members who see combat. The study noted that part of the reason behind that behavior pattern was the fact that the military is largely composed of young men – a group more likely to abuse alcohol across all segments of American society. However, there is something more dangerous at play when it comes to veterans and alcoholism.
Alcoholism & PTSD
The challenges of service and combat often cause deep emotional wounds and PTSD that vets try in vain to self-medicate with alcohol.
More than 90% of the veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq that abuse alcohol also have a co-occurring disorder like PTSD, depression, or generalized anxiety disorder. In another 2013 study of Iraq and Afghanistan vets, 13.5% of study respondents screened positive for PTSD.
For individuals facing such a complex mix of issues, comprehensive and trauma-focused care with a focus on co-occurring disorders is the only way to truly find healing and freedom.
Help for Veterans With Alcoholism
At Acqua Recovery, our Masters-level clinicians are dedicated to helping veterans and civilians alike to rejuvenate their lives. Our sanctuary for healing provides the perfect setting to rest, renew, and heal the wounds of war and the emotional scars of addiction. As a testament to our dedication to helping America’s vets, we are in network with Tricare, Triwest, and Tricare East.
Call us today to find out how a custom treatment plan could help you with both your alcohol abuse and the emotional issues you try to drown with your drinking. Reconnect with the life you were meant to live and the freedom you risked your life defending, at Acqua.