Opioid use across the country continues to impact the lives of many, with increased use of these drugs having destructive ramifications. However, while the ongoing opioid crisis can affect anybody, veterans can be uniquely exposed to its dangers. Understanding the effects of the opioid crisis and how it impacts veteran life is the first step in creating a plan to overcome the use of opioids among veterans and foster a healthier approach to civilian life. Hawaii Island Recovery’s approach to effective opioid addiction treatment in Hawaii is prepared to help veterans while simultaneously addressing the effects of trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more among veterans. 

The Effects of the Opioid Crisis

Opioid use, addiction, and overdose are all incredibly dangerous. However, more and more people are affected each day, with the use of opioids continuing to increase rapidly despite their dangerous effects. In 2020, about 75% of the 91,779 deaths through drug overdose were tied to opioid use, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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However, this staggering number does not necessarily reflect all of the other ways opioid abuse and addiction can have drastic ramifications on veteran life. From other health complications, compromised mental health, loss of job, damage to personal relationships, financial strains, and much more, the effects of the opioid crisis cannot be accurately quantified by any single number but rather the truly devastating range of effects that it can have on each veteran’s life. 

Veterans are uniquely situated to be at risk of the challenges and dangers presented by the opioid crisis across the country. Professional support at Hawaii Island Recovery is paramount to exploring the effects of the opioid crisis on veterans and promoting a healthy and sober transition to civilian life. 

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Opioid Use Among Veterans

Veterans of the armed forces can be exposed to opioids in many ways, making professional treatment and education necessary for supporting a healthy transition to veteran life. For some, persistent, chronic pains can continue to impact daily life even after being discharged from active duty. This can add a continuous feeling of pain and discomfort while also being tied to particular traumatic events that may serve as constant reminders of an active war zone, survivor’s guilt, and more. 

Opioids to cope with these chronic pains can be common, as well as to address injuries incurred in the line of duty. Military prescriptions for pain management can also lead to exposure to opioids, birthing an addiction to opioids that follow veterans throughout their transition back home. Research has found that some 3.8 million prescriptions for pain medication were written for military personnel in 2009 alone. 

However, after a prescription runs out, the highly addictive nature of opioids can introduce addiction and cause veterans to seek other avenues of procuring these drugs. For some, this can be finding illicit alternatives where a veteran may not entirely know exactly what they are ingesting or what other substances may be used in their creation, or the use of replacement drugs like heroin. Others may turn to self-harm in an attempt to garner a new prescription from a doctor. 

The Role of Trauma and Mental Health Disorders

Due to the traumatic and intense nature of military service, lasting mental health disorders among veterans can be common, with trauma, PTSD, depression, anxiety, panic, and much more all being ubiquitous among the veteran community. However, these mental health disorders can also play a role in the use of opioids as a coping mechanism and further the potentially destructive effects of the ongoing opioid crisis among veterans. 

The desire to push down difficult feelings or quell flashbacks and other symptoms of trauma and mental health disorders can be intense, and opioids can purport to be a fast-action solution. However, they have no effect in processing or navigating these challenges effectively, and veterans can be left with even further exacerbated mental health disorders as a result of their use. This can further facilitate the need for professional treatment to address the effects of the opioid crisis among veterans.

Identifying the Need for Treatment for Veterans

The opioid crisis has affected veterans of all ages and branches of the military. Identifying the need for treatment in overcoming opioid use is paramount. Some of the common signs of opioid use among veterans include: 

  • Difficulty concentrating or forming new memories
  • Compromised personal hygiene
  • Increase in secretive lifestyles, such as locking doors
  • Social withdrawal
  • Sudden financial stresses and challenges
  • Stealing
  • Increase in feelings of anxiety, depression, hopelessness, or panic
  • Compromised healthy diet
  • Sudden changes in weight
  • Track marks
  • Increase in lying
  • “Doctor shopping”

Finding treatment for helping veterans address how the opioid crisis continues to affect their civilian lives is crucial, and Hawaii Island Recovery can be a part of taking this first step. 

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Treatment for Younger Veterans

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Overcoming the Effects of the Opioid Crisis at Hawaii Island Recovery

Taking the first step into treatment will always be difficult. However, healing and sobriety are always possible if the unique needs and experiences of veterans are addressed. Hawaii Island Recovery’s dedicated veteran programming, community of veteran peers, and trauma-informed treatment are all prepared to help veterans address the effects of opioids in their lives. Each of these veteran programs is partnered with the natural energies and spiritual healing of the Hawaii islands, creating a unique and powerful approach to the personal needs, physical and mental health, social needs, and spiritual healing necessary for a transformed civilian life. 

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The ongoing opioid crisis has many drastic ramifications, with the effects of opioid addiction affecting veterans and their families. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we are committed to helping your and your loved ones address and overcome the effects of opioids among veterans through our specialized opioid addiction treatment programs. Your time with us can be customized to address your unique needs and goals as a veteran while exploring our veteran community, family programs, peer support, and much more. We combine proven therapeutic practices with the natural energies and advantages of the Hawaiian islands, creating a unique form of personal and spiritual healing. For more information on how we can help you, call to speak to us today at (866) 390-5070.