Women Veterans and Alcohol Addiction

Women Veterans and Alcohol AddictionAccording to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. According to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs women veterans accounted for more than 14 percent of the total US veteran population in 2010. Put those two sets of information together, and you have the potential for women veterans to struggle with alcohol addiction.

The Impact of War on Women

According to the NCADD, of the 1.7 million troops deployed in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 190,000 (about 11 percent) are women. Approximately 180,000 women are serving in a war zone. Because so many women deployed today serve on the front lines in combat zones, they may experience the following:

  • Traumatic stressors in combat such as incoming fire from enemy
  • Fear-based living due to sniper fire
  • Ongoing sense of loss from seeing others killed or wounded

These experiences can cause female veterans to develop issues with the following:

  • Posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Nightmares
  • Sleeplessness
  • Anger
  • Isolation

Women suffering from these effects of war may turn to alcohol to mask or avoid the realities of experiences faced in combat.

Impact of Alcohol Abuse on Women Veterans

Excessive alcohol use can lead to the following:

  • Psychiatric problems including depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts
  • Social problems including unemployment, family problems or violence
  • Physical health problems and increased risk for liver diseases and various types of cancer

These effects will greatly reduce quality of life and will make reentering everyday life after military service an overwhelming challenge.

Help for Women Veterans Struggling with Alcohol Addiction

Women veterans will benefit from recovery programs designed specifically to meet their unique needs. These programs may involve the following:

  • Counseling with a focus on motivation for change
  • Residential care
  • Medically supervised detox services
  • Continuing aftercare and relapse prevention
  • Marriage and family counseling
  • Access to self-help groups

The focus of an alcohol addiction recovery program is to provide treatment and recovery support services that have the experience and resources necessary to address any and all co-occurring issues that women veterans may be facing.

Get Alcohol Addiction Help for Women Veterans

Finding the right addiction treatment program to meet your needs or the needs of someone you love can be an overwhelming experience. Call our toll-free helpline to learn about options available to female veterans. We are here 24 hours a day, and all calls are free and confidential. Please pick up the phone today.