Wednesday, April 13, 2011
A number of soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from anxiety and depression, usually as a result of post traumatic stress. It is common for soldiers to self medicate their issues with drugs and alcohol in order to cope with the immense pressure inside. In many cases, soldiers who are struggling are not sure which way they should turn for help; let alone which direction they are facing, which unfortunately can result in veterans taking their own lives. Now veterans groups are stepping up to the plate to try an assist young veterans coming back from the 'war on terror' with their problems. Newer Veteran's groups are holding alcohol-free meetings to help with the alcohol abuse which has become a major problem with younger veterans, with groups such as Dryhootch in Milwaukee trying to attract veterans with coffee as opposed to beer.
The scientific director at the National Center for Veterans Studies, Utah University, Dr. David Rudd, explained to NPR that nearly 20 percent of current vets suffer from anxiety disorder or depression, and many self-medicate with alcohol. With the waning membership in traditional veteran groups like Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, it is crucial that Veteran's groups take a new alcohol-free approach. Modern methods of alcohol and drug abuse treatment have the tools to give to suffering veterans in need of assistance; no one has to stay out in the cold. Veteran's groups in conjunction with drug and alcohol counseling may have the power to help soldiers coming home stay sober.
Vietnam veteran Bob Curry, founded the Veteran's group Dryhootch which he hopes to expand by the end of the year, provides peer-to-peer counseling program. Peer mentor Mark Flower tells NPR that his goal is to engage veterans without pressuring them. Help is out there is soldiers desire it....