Leaving the military after serving one’s country is never an easy decision. In some cases, the individual may not have a choice, like if they are seriously injured and can no longer perform their duties. Whether one retires on their own or is forced to resign their commission, there are different struggles veterans face.
Life in the Military
Serving in the military can be a rewarding but stressful career. Many service men and women can become overly stressed due to the demands of their job. They might also find themselves exposed to traumatic events, which can lead to PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Other military personnel could experience injuries, like losing a limb. Then, there are service people who become homesick and start missing their family and friends.
Drinking in the Military
The culture in the military tends to encourage drinking. Furthermore, for many young people, this is their first time away from home and having access to alcohol at discounted rates makes it a popular option when getting time off. As such, binge drinking is common in the military, with almost 54 percent of active personnel self-reporting binge drinking at least once. In many cases, participation in an alcohol rehab program may be necessary.
Drug Use in the Military
Prescription drug misuse is the most common type of drug use in the military. This is because prescription drugs are often prescribed to treat injuries, pain, and depression.
On the other hand, illicit drug use while on active duty is almost non-existent. If a service person is caught misusing illicit substances, they will be discharged from the military and could potentially face criminal charges.
List of Struggles Veterans Face After Leaving the Military
Reintegrating into civilian life can be challenging for veterans. They are used to having a structured routine and schedule. So civilian life can be full of unknowns and uncertainty, including:
Unemployment. Many veterans find it difficult to find steady employment after leaving the military. They may lack certain job skills or face a lot of competition for a few jobs in their chosen field.
Relationship Problems. Veterans can have difficulties readjusting to having their friends and family around them all the time. They may feel lost because they missed out on many things while they were serving their country and do not know how to relate to others.
Mental Health Issues. Some veterans can experience depression and PTSD after leaving the military. Others can continue to struggle with depression or PTSD they developed while in the military.
Physical Handicaps. When a veteran returns home with scars, amputated limbs, or other injuries that limit their capabilities, it can make it even harder to find a job. Also, it can be more difficult to re-establish relationships with friends and family. This affects their self-esteem and confidence.
Homelessness. About a third of homeless people are veterans. They are homeless because they did not have a family to return home to, cannot afford housing, or are struggling with mental health issues.
Identity Issues. Some veterans struggle internally with their identity and who they should be. Also, they no longer have the support of their unit and may feel out of place when around others and in social settings.
Problems Finding Purpose. In the military, they clearly understood their responsibilities and job duties. However, after returning home, many veterans have difficulty determining what they should be doing.
Resources Addressing the Struggles Veterans Face
There are several resources available to veterans after leaving the military. However, not all veterans are aware of the numerous services they have access to, including:
- The Veterans Administration. Registering with the Veterans Administration and scheduling a post-exit medical exam can help you get medical and substance abuse care and ensure you get your VA benefits.
- Helmets to Hardhats. This program helps veterans find jobs in the construction industry.
- GI Bill. Veterans can take advantage of getting a college degree through the military’s GI Bill programs.
- VA Home Loans. Veterans can qualify for special mortgages with little to no money down and low-interest rates to help ensure they can afford housing after leaving the military.
- American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Chapters. These organizations have local chapters where fellow veterans can meet and make new friendships. Also, these organizations host a range of events to help them reconnect with their local community.
- State, County, and Local Programs. Many states, counties, and cities have resources, programs, and services for veterans.
- Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Programs. Veterans can get help with substance and alcohol use disorders through various addiction treatment centers, like Phoenix Rising Recovery.
In short, help is available for veterans struggling with returning to civilian life, including programs designed specifically for veterans living with substance use disorder by Phoenix Rising Recovery. These resources can help them find jobs, housing, and overcome mental health and substance abuse problems.
Mental Health Treatment for Veterans in Palm Springs, CA
Veterans with mental health and substance abuse problems can get help at Phoenix Rising Recovery in Palm Springs. We are a luxury rehab treatment facility that provides you with the tools and skills needed to face your addiction and mental health issues. In conclusion, if you’d like to learn more about our treatment programs or to speak to a specialist, contact us today!