Veterans put their bodies and minds at risk in the line of duty. Healing from these experiences as a veteran can be difficult. Many of these sacrifices continue to impact veterans long after they have been discharged from service, with the use of prescription painkillers among veterans being common to cope with these challenges. However, prescription drugs are still incredibly addictive, affecting veterans’ mental and physical health in civilian life. Identifying the signs of prescription painkiller use in veterans and utilizing professional treatment to overcome addiction is crucial for creating a healthy civilian life.

The Use of Prescription Painkillers Among Veterans

Veterans of any branch of the armed forces are exposed to many dangers, experiencing stress to their mental and emotional health and physical dangers. Active service members are constantly pushing their bodies to the limit, either through intense training regimens or even through injuries incurred in the line of duty. 

Painkillers such as oxycodone or hydrocodone are commonly used to address these pains and help each person continue to push themselves. However, these pains may not necessarily subside quickly. As a result, the use of these drugs can create a dangerous precedent for veterans continuing to manage lasting pain in civilian life.

Addiction to Prescription Opioids

Chronic pains can be difficult to deal with due to their frequency or intensity. The use of painkillers to help quell these pains is common but can lead to addiction among veterans with regular use. Their efficacy can wane as an individual builds tolerance to these drugs, requiring more of them in order to quell these pains. Additionally, the use of painkillers alone does little to create new strategies for dealing with these pains, creating a dangerous overreliance on these drugs.

Likewise, painkillers do not address the emotional connections that these pains may have to traumatic experiences. The use of prescription drugs to overcome these pains does not address the need for trauma support or strategies to process anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders that may be tied to the memories of these pains. However, with regular exposure to their use during a veteran’s time in the military, they are still a commonly used and highly addictive substance that veterans must overcome for a healthy civilian life.

The Prevalence of Addiction in Veterans
The Prevalence of Addiction in Veterans

Addiction is incredibly common among veterans, and tackling the unique traumas and experiences veterans face is difficult. Learn more at (866) 390-5070.

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Identifying the Symptoms of Prescription Painkillers Addiction

Prescription painkillers are not meant to be used consistently. However, for those overcoming an addiction to these drugs, their use can feel necessary to cope with persistent, chronic pains or even just to feel “normal.” Some veterans may even begin to prioritize their use over other aspects of their daily lives. Identifying problematic relationships with prescription drugs is the first step in overcoming their use and creating a healthy, sober civilian life.

Some of the signs of addiction to painkillers among veterans include:

  • Decrease in appetite
  • Rapid changes in energy
  • Inconsistent sleep schedules
  • Compromised critical thinking
  • Increase in risk-taking behaviors
  • Compromised professional performance or inability to tend to regular responsibilities
  • Increase in feelings of isolation or isolationist behaviors
  • Difficulty forming or recalling memories
  • Increase in feelings of anxiety, depression, or anger

Prescription painkillers may also cause veterans to seek increasingly drastic ways to procure additional doses of these drugs, even at their own physical risk. Veterans continue to experience regular chronic pains as the effects of the drugs wear off. Additionally, they may also experience an increase in risk-taking behavior, self-harm, or “doctor shopping,” which can all continue to impact their use of these prescription drugs. 

Identifying any of these signs can encourage veterans to pursue professional care to address their use, as well as engage in effective mental, emotional, and trauma-healing practices for sustained sobriety and healing.

The Stages of Opiate Addiction
The Stages of Opiate Withdrawal

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Pursuing Treatment

Addiction to prescription painkillers can be incredibly difficult to overcome. There is no simple or easy way to address their profound effects on a veteran’s physical or mental health. Professional treatment is necessary to address the symptoms and consequences of their use while also helping veterans better process their emotional needs, mentalities, perspectives, feelings, and experiences that may have informed their use in the first place. 

Effective treatment for veterans overcoming addiction demands a unique approach to the challenges and hurdles that veterans face. Likewise, it can help veterans to address prevalent traumas that continue to greatly influence their daily lives.

Alcohol Rehab in Hawaii

It is also important for veterans to pursue treatment before the effects of addiction continue to impact life in increasingly consequential ways. Veteran-specific care can help deconstruct many of the barriers and stigmas that military veterans face from their time in service while pursuing the best possible route to physical, emotional, and spiritual healing while coping with withdrawal from prescription drugs.

Chronic pains and traumas are incredibly common among veterans. However, prescription painkillers rarely offer long-term solutions to such complex challenges. Professional drug rehab in Hawaii can develop personalized strategies and a community of peers to overcome addiction, providing invaluable resources for any stage of recovery.

Prescription painkillers are both common and dangerous among the veteran community. If you or a loved one recognize the signs or symptoms of dangerous prescription drug use, Hawaii Island Recovery can help you today. We offer a dedicated, comprehensive veteran program that not only addresses the unique challenges veterans face but the use of prescription drugs as well. Our use of an effective community, support, and camaraderie is curated to help you understand and overcome the use of prescription drugs to create a healthy and fulfilling daily civilian life. For more information on how we can help you, or if you have any questions about how we can personalize your drug rehab in Hawaii, call us today at (866) 390-5070.