Substance Abuse

The Invisible Epidemic

Concern about Substance abuse

Why is substance abuse a concern? Substance abuse is a concern in the military for the same reasons it's a concern in the civilian population. It can harm judgment, decision-making, problem-solving, learning, and memory. It can lead to health problems and harm you and your loved ones. It can result in legal and money problems.

Addressing the problem of substance abuse in the military

The Institute Of Medicine (IOM) recommended ways to address substance abuse in the military including increasing the use of evidence-based prevention and treatment interventions and expanding access to care. The report recommends broadening insurance coverage to include effective outpatient treatments and better equipping healthcare providers to recognize and screen for substance use problems so they can refer patients to appropriate, evidence-based treatment when needed. It also recommends measures like limiting access to alcohol on bases.

The Effects of Substance Abuse

Substance abuse can be drugs, alcohol, or even prescription medication being taken too often and people could possibly overdose. It's a problem in the brain an illness, it is very difficult to treat a person that is a substance abuser.

Treatment for substance abuse.

When a person is on or is using drugs they get uncontrollable cravings and will do just about anything for drugs without thinking about the consequences. Over time the will to resist is nearly nonexistent. Addiction is a brain disease that affects multiple brain circuits, including those involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and inhibitory control over behavior. Because drug abuse and addiction have so many dimensions and disrupt so many aspects of an individual's life, treatment is not simple. Effective treatment programs typically incorporate many components, each directed to a particular aspect of the illness and its consequences. Addiction treatment must help the individual stop using drugs, maintain a drug-free lifestyle, and achieve productive functioning in the family, at work, and in society. Because addiction is typically a chronic disease, people cannot simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured. Most patients require long-term or repeated episodes of care to achieve the ultimate goal of sustained abstinence and recovery of their lives.