One of the often overlooked populations when it comes to substance abuse and addiction is the men and women who serve our country. The rate of substance abuse among active and retired service members is usually higher than what is found in the general population, and this increase may be caused by a number of different factors and circumstances. These are individuals who may have been in combat situations and faced extreme levels of stress. Many of them suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and other psychological wounds that are hard to treat and may take a long time to heal once appropriate treatment is started. One study shows that the rate of suicide among active army members is as much as 80% higher today than it was in the past, and the addiction and substance abuse rates have also increased drastically over the last decade.
Many military members who have substance abuse problems or psychological issues may face many obstacles. The military substance abuse treatment and mental health programs are underfunded and they can not meet the current need for these types of services. That leads to long wait times and a lack of facilities which offer high recovery rates and low relapse risks. In addition a number of these professionals may be reluctant to admit that they have a problem with drugs or alcohol and that they need help and treatment. Part of this is due to the macho culture of this institution and a fear of being seen as weak plays a role in this. This leads to large gaps in the treatment process and a waiting period for those who admit that they need treatment in some way.