How Can Military Life Stressors Contribute to Drug Abuse?

How Can Military Life Stressors Contribute to Drug Abuse?Everyone experiences stress at some point in their daily life, and not all life stressors can be avoided, which is why it is important to learn what triggers stress in an individual as well as healthy ways for coping or dealing with stress to avoid maladaptive behaviors. Common life stressors include things like the following:

  • major life changes or events like divorce, moving and retirement
  • socio-economic stressors like poverty, racial issues and malnutrition
  • social stressors like relationship problems, family strife, social isolation and loneliness
  • occupational stress from job overload or unemployment
  • financial stress
  • chronic pain, illness, poor physical health and well-being
  • chaos or too much responsibility with too little time or energy

Military personnel and their families are exposed to these same life stressors but to a different degree. The military life can almost be seen as a major life event that persists for months or years at a time, and these additional life stressors can contribute to drug abuse and addiction.

Are Military Personnel and Their Families Pre-Disposed to Substance Abuse and Addiction?

For the individual serving in the military, he or she is under a great deal of both physical and psychological stress whether he or she is deployed, located in war-zones, or working at a base. These individuals have to maintain a level of physical performance and mental endurance at all times. The pressure that is cast onto military men and women is immense as they are expected to perform to the highest degree possible. Many people overlook the incredible amount of mental training individuals in the military go through and the constant vigilant state active-duty servicemen and women keep to protect themselves and others.

On top of these stressors, military life consists of long hours, weeks, months and even years of living apart from family and friends and an environment lacking the comforts and luxuries of home. Military families also suffer additional life stressors aside from the worry, fear and longing for their loved one serving their country.

When one spouse is deployed or away from home, the other spouse has to step in and take on additional roles and responsibilities. This is especially overwhelming when there are children in the family. Being a single parent is a tremendous amount of responsibility filling up one’s days with multiple-roles from parent, teacher, taxi-driver, career person, accountant, chef, housecleaner and handyman. Adding these stressors to the emotional burdens of missing a loved one and fearing for his or her life poses a threat for self-medicating behavior. Alcohol and drug abuse is a big risk for members of the military and their loved ones due the significant amount of stress these individuals face.

Find Treatment and Recovery Resources for Military and Military Families

If you are a military member or family of someone in the military, we understand the additional challenges and burdens you experience on a day-to-day basis and are happy to say that there are several treatment and recovery options available that specialize in catering to the unique needs of military members and their loved ones. To find treatment and recovery help for military personnel and military families, call our 24-hour, toll-free helpline and speak with a recovery professional today. We’re here to help however we can.