Addiction Symptoms in Veterans: Signs It’s Time to Quit

signs addiction veterans

How do you know when “partying” becomes a problem? Is your drinking and drug use really “bad enough” to get help? It can be hard to know when you cross the line from drug and alcohol use into abuse and then full-blown addiction. If you’re taking a look at your own substance use behavior, this list of signs and symptoms of addiction in veterans could give you the clarity you need to find true freedom in addiction treatment for veterans.

Medical Signs of Addiction in Veterans

First, what do the doctors say about addiction? Substance use disorder and alcohol use disorder are both serious diseases that are listed in the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), the standard guide that doctors use to diagnose illnesses. Only a doctor can truly diagnose you, but review this checklist for a pulse check on your situation. How many can you answer “yes” to?

  1. Alcohol or drugs are often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended. 
  2. There is an ongoing desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol or drug use. 
  3. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to get alcohol or drugs, use alcohol or drugs, or recover from their effects. 
  4. Cravings, or a strong desire or urge to use alcohol or drugs. 
  5. Frequent alcohol or drug use resulting in a failure to fulfill major responsibilities at work, school, or home.
  6. Continued alcohol or drug use despite having problems caused by the effects of alcohol or drugs. 
  7. Important social, work, or leisure activities are given up or reduced because of alcohol or drug use. 
  8. Recurrent alcohol or drug use in situations in which it is physically hazardous. 
  9. Alcohol or drug use is continued despite having physical or psychological problems that are likely to have been caused or made worse by alcohol or drugs. 
  10. An increasing need for more alcohol or drugs to achieve the desired effect.
  11. Withdrawal symptoms are experienced when alcohol or drug use is stopped or reduced.

According to the DSM-V, two to three symptoms indicate mild substance use disorder; four to five, moderate substance use disorder; and six or more, severe addiction. Where did you end up?

Physical Signs of Addiction in Veterans

There are other physical signs of addiction in veterans that can be harder to ignore. For example, do you experience headaches, nausea, or the shakes when you haven’t had a drink or a drug in a while? Can your cravings feel impossible to ignore? Have you gained or lost a lot of weight recently, or are you noticing sores on your skin? Any major physical changes can be a sign of a problem. Of course, if a doctor has told you that your drinking or drug use is affecting your health, it’s definitely time to listen and consider getting help.

Emotional Signs of Addiction in Veterans

The emotional signs of addiction may be harder to recognize due to the fact that your substance use is intended to numb your emotions. Mood swings, outbursts, anger, depression, and irritability can all be signs of issues related to addiction. Hopelessness, pessimism, and loneliness are all typical. No matter what you’re feeling, though, remember that feelings aren’t facts. In addiction your mind plays tricks on you to keep you drinking and using. Even if you feel like there’s no hope on the horizon, recovery is still possible for you.

Other Signs of Addiction in Veterans

Many classic signs of addiction are only recognizable after the fact. In the moment, it’s easy to blame them on anything other than your drinking or drug use. These environmental signs of addiction in veterans could include

  • Legal problems
  • Relationship issues
  • Trouble at work
  • Broken friendships
  • Missed opportunities
  • Forgotten hobbies
  • And more

Your life may be crumbling around you right now, but there’s time to stop it before it’s too late.

Veterans Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment for veterans can help you get clean and sober. More importantly, it gives you the time, space, support, and tools you need to heal the underlying causes of your substance abuse. Only by healing those emotional wounds and behavioral issues can you ever truly find lasting recovery.

After reviewing these signs of addiction, do you think you could have a problem? Are you ready to get help? Even if you’re not sure, reach out to our team. They’ve been through recovery themselves and know how hard it can be to get help. They’ll listen to your story, help you decide on next steps, and give you the confidence you need to spread your wings and fly in recovery. You can start today.


The Owls Nest


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