Developing an alcohol addiction when you return home from serving in the military is more common than many believe. Many who leave the armed forces turn to drink for many reasons.

It could be mental health issues worsened by their time in active services, such as anxiety, depression or even PTSD.

It could also be that many struggle to readjust to civilian life and the lack of routine or control they are faced with.

It is estimated that around 1.1 million Veterans in the UK live with addiction. Of those 1.1 million, 20% struggle with drug abuse and the rest are alcoholics.

There is no shame in struggling. But many veterans struggling with an alcohol addiction find it difficult to seek out the help they need. Some may even see addiction as a weakness that they cant expose and should get over on their own.

We want to make something very clear.

Addiction is a complex medical condition that can happen to anyone. It can be caused by any number of factors, including your genetics. Struggling with addiction is no different to living with any other chronic illness, and it must be treated as such.

An alcohol addiction won’t be beaten through sheer force of will. You need help to safely and effectively work towards long term recovery so that you can actually enjoy civilian life. The brave thing to do is to admit you need help and to start your journey to long term recovery as soon as possible.

There are treatment options available to you, and you will be supported every step of the way.

Mental Health Issues Among Veterans

When you abuse alcohol in the short term, people suffering from mental health problems may see some benefits. Unfortunately, any benefit won’t last very long and will ultimately worsen the situation.

Like physical health problems, mental health issues cant be cured by drinking alcohol or taking the right pill. Instead, it requires a lot of work and upkeep to keep everything as healthy as possible.

Mental health issues are very common amongst Veterans returning home. It has been found that around 41% of veterans suffer from mental health issues. Unfortunately, many of them won’t seek out a formal diagnosis or any help for their problems, instead deciding to try and handle it themselves.

We want to provide support for anyone who needs it to avoid the numbers rising any more than they already have.

Many people who have returned to civilian life may find they have an undiagnosed mental illness. In some cases, it can have been caused by their services, such as with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.

However, it is also possible that mental illness was always there, and the rigid structure of military life allowed for a routine that kept it in check. This is common in cases of depression and anxiety.

Mental health issues are the leading cause of alcohol addiction amongst all addicts, not just veterans. It is a widespread problem that requires treatment just as much as any other medical condition.

The best place to receive that treatment is in an alcohol rehab centre that can provide appropriate treatment options to address the long term mental health issues associated with being a veteran.

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Alcohol Addiction Treatment for Veterans

There are many treatment options available. This is because each case has to be treated individually, and what may work for you won’t work for others.

First of all, a very standard part of your stay at an alcohol rehab centre will be alcohol detox. 

Detox is very simply the process of allowing your body the safely work through the toxins in your system. You will be able to experience the withdrawal symptoms in a safe and controlled environment where if they prove too much for your body to handle, you will be provided with medication to relieve them.

In most cases, when you have completed your detox, which tends to take around ten days, you will move on to therapy.

Different therapies are designed to help in different ways. You will work with an alcohol rehab centre therapist to find out which treatment options work best for you and your specific needs.

The therapies include:

Many veterans find that group therapy is one of the best options for them. Especially when they are able to work with others who have retired from serving in the military. It helps to counteract the isolation of many who struggle with substance misuse and prepares you for life outside of the alcohol rehab centre.

Live Chat  FREE telephone addiction assessment at Ocean recovery

At Ocean recovery, we offer a free telephone addiction assessment with one of our addiction specialists. During this 20/30-minute confidential assessment, our addiction expert will ask you questions about your situation and addiction to best help understand what addiction treatment will benefit you, and which of our UK addiction rehab treatment centres will best suit your particular needs.

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Veteran Aftercare Support

In order to achieve long term recovery, you need to continue to work to avoid alcohol and not give in to harmful temptations, which include drugs as well as alcohol.

The best way you can do this is by taking advantage of the aftercare service that will be offered through your alcohol rehab centre.

These aftercare services can come in the form of a referral for follow up therapy sessions or to a local support group such as alcoholics anonymous. This gives you someone to check in on your progress and keep track of your mental health.

You will also be provided with a relapse prevention plan. This will have been made specifically for you and will outline ways you can replace your substance misuse with healthier coping mechanisms.

Addiction Recovery Options – How can we help

At Ocean Recovery, we have a number of treatment options available to help anyone who needs it. We are located across the UK, and we are CQC registered. We have the resources and the experience to help you to begin living the sober life you deserve.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: December 22, 2023

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.

Dr Adel Ghaly

    Dr Adel Ghaly - Clinical Reviewer - Last reviewed: December 8, 2023

    MB BCh, Psychological Medicine (Substance Misuse Psychiatry) from 2002

    Dr Adel Ghaly is a registered Doctor who is a specialist psychiatrist. Dr Ghaly gained an MB BCh in 1982 from Assiut University and has since become a substance misuse specialist and psychiatrist. After gaining his qualification in Psychological Medicine (Substance Misuse Psychiatry) in 2002, Dr Ghaly has worked in hospitals and as a specialist trainer recognised by the GMC.