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Military and Mental Health

three soldiers in a group therapy session

With May recognized as Military Appreciation Month, it’s an important time to reflect on the unique challenges that veterans of all ages face when transitioning from military service back into civilian life. This transition can be a difficult one for many veterans, who often struggle with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

The psychological trauma experienced by those in the military can have long-lasting effects on their physical and emotional well-being. Therefore, it is essential that they receive proper care during this sensitive period of adjustment to ensure they are able to readjust successfully to civilian life. In order to better understand the best ways to support veterans, it's important to take a closer look at some of the most common struggles faced by those who have served in the armed forces. 

1) Addiction

Addiction is a prevalent issue that haunts many veterans, who often face traumatic experiences or social exposure to drugs and alcohol in combat. Unfortunately, this can lead to substance abuse disorders that inflict severe psychological wounds. It's heartbreaking to witness how substance abuse shatters their lives, steering them toward physical health deterioration, financial instability, and even legal troubles. This serious problem needs to be addressed to ensure that veterans receive the support and care they need to overcome addiction and other mental health struggles. 

Veterans are also more likely than civilians to become dependent on prescription medications, such as opioids. Research shows that this is likely due to their unique experiences in the military–such as trauma –that make them more vulnerable to addiction than non-veterans. In addition, some combat veterans turn to alcohol or drugs in order to cope with their pain and mask their traumatic memories. The good news is that with proper treatment, veterans can find lasting recovery from addiction and begin the process of healing and rebuilding their lives. 

2) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can arise in the aftermath of a traumatic event. It affects veterans from all branches of the military–active duty, retired, or discharged–and can bring on flashbacks, nightmares, extreme anxiety, and emotional numbness. Living with PTSD may also result in depression, alcohol abuse, or suicidal thoughts.

Due to the unique stresses of being in combat, veterans often experience additional challenges when it comes to managing their PTSD symptoms. The intensity and unpredictability of battle can cause intense fear and helplessness that linger long after service has ended. In addition, lack of sleep, constant vigilance, and physical injury can take a toll on mental health over time. 

For many veterans suffering from PTSD, it can be difficult to reach out for help due to the stigma surrounding mental health issues or a lack of understanding about their condition. But seeking treatment is an important part of the road to recovery as there are now effective treatments available for those struggling with PTSD. With proper care and support, veterans can manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives post-service.

3) Mental Health

As veterans transition back to civilian life, mental health becomes more critical to monitor. Military service can trigger a range of mental health issues, including PTSD, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. However, veterans may also encounter more general mental health struggles, such as difficulty concentrating, irritability, and sleep disturbances. 

Returning home from military service doesn't necessarily mean leaving behind all the physical and emotional tolls that come with it. For many veterans, these struggles can linger and make it difficult to readjust to civilian life, leading to a sense of isolation that can exacerbate mental health issues. But veterans need to know that resources are available to help them manage these challenges and lead fulfilling lives post-service. From specialized counseling programs designed specifically for veterans to online support groups and crisis hotlines, there are a variety of effective ways for those struggling with mental health issues to get the help they need.

In addition to seeking treatment from a mental health professional, there are some other steps that veterans can take to improve their mental health. Self-care practices, such as yoga or journaling, can help lower stress levels while connecting with other veterans. Support groups can also provide much-needed camaraderie during difficult times. It's crucial for veterans to take care of their physical health by getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly. Taking these steps will help ensure that veterans are able to maintain good mental health long after they've left the military.

4) The Jackson House Veterans Program Can Help

The Jackson House veterans program was created to provide specialized treatment to veterans struggling with mental health issues. Trained professionals help veterans navigate their individual needs and provide counseling, psychosocial support, and substance abuse treatment services tailored specifically to the unique challenges they face. The program offers individual therapy and group therapy programs that focus on the unique needs of veterans and help them understand their mental health conditions. 

Jackson House is dedicated to providing exceptional care for its veterans. Their compassionate staff is here to support you every step of the way on your journey to recovery. They believe in personalized attention and aim to ensure that each individual receives the care, attention, and resources they need to achieve lasting wellness. Their team also collaborates with other community service providers to ensure that their veterans have access to any additional support required.

During this Military Appreciation Month, take note of the difficulties veterans and their families face when transitioning back to civilian life. Through programs like Jackson House, veterans have access to quality mental health care and resources to help them through their recovery process. By providing this support, veterans are able to reclaim autonomy in their lives and find lasting peace.

About the author

Jackson House

Jackson House

We built Jackson House because we realized there was a critical gap in our healthcare system and many individuals with mental illnesses and substance abuse problems were struggling because of it. While there are many outpatient treatment options and locked, inpatient facilities there was nothing in the middle. Nothing to help people who needed around the clock care but wanted to receive treatment voluntarily, on their own terms. Jackson House is different. We provide clients with the level of care they need in a welcoming environment. When you walk through our doors, we will meet you wherever you’re at and help you on your journey toward feeling better.

It's time to feel better

We are here to help and we are in-network with most insurance providers. Call us for a free and confidential consultation.

If you’re a provider and need to send us information on a client, please feel free to fax us at 619-303-7044. If you need help immediately, call our 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-766-4274. If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Jackson House is licensed by the State of California Community Care Licensing Division and certified by the Department of Health Care Services. We are also CARF Accredited. If you have any client or quality of care concerns, please reach out to us at (888) 255-9280. If your concerns need further attention, you can contact the Department of Public Health at 619-278-3700 or the Community Care Licensing Division at 1-844-538-8766.