Soldiers Sacrifice to Serve Our Country
Gaining Essential Coping Skills to Deal with Alcohol and Substance Abuse Can Be a Very Difficult Task to Complete
Military life can be very stressful for Soldiers and their Families. Soldiers are constantly being bombarded with training, deployment, re-acclimation to the home front, and then repeating the cycle many times over.
As the military is gaining more knowledge and researching the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), there are concerns that many soldiers are resorting to alcohol and substance abuse to alleviate the pressure of various transitions as has been the case from previous wars. Unfortunately, addiction does not only affect the Soldiers, it also affects the families of the Soldiers. A Soldier’s spouse may feel that a way to deal with loneliness or stress of a deployed member may be by drinking alcohol.
Alcohol-related incidents continue to be the most referred to Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP).
Whether Soldiers are in the beginning stages of boot camp, seasoned veterans, reservist, or retirees, ASAP plays a vital role in helping them and their families deal with addiction of alcohol and/or drugs. ASAP provides various services in-house that meet many of the Soldier’s and their Families’ needs such as education, prevention, rehabilitation and treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. Because in many cases these services are provided in-house, Soldiers are allowed to simultaneously do their job and receive treatment -- a win-win situation for all.
Soldiers are usually referred for substance-abuse counseling in the Army by their command after an incident, such as, being cited by local authorities for drunken driving. While others have self referred and determined that they can no longer deal with the effects of alcohol or drugs, such as relational problems, financial struggles, suicide attempts, psychological and physical problems, still others are just sick and tired of being sick and tired. In the screening process the counselors or social workers determine that the Soldiers have an alcohol dependency, then they may be hospitalized in an Army inpatient facility such as Fort Gordon, Georgia, followed by weekly individual sessions. For alcohol-abuse problems, Soldiers may be required to go through a two-day educational course, Alcohol Drug Abuse Prevention Training (ADAPT), as well as individual counseling.
Just as the military has taken great strides in recent years to give access and meet the mental health needs of troops, the Army recognizes that there will still be individuals who might believe that they have an alcohol or substance problem but are hesitant to reach out for help. As a result, the Army has created an online training and assessment tool, myPRIME http://acsap.army.mil/sso/pages/public/resources/myprime.jsp which is an online prevention intervention training tool that provides deployed Soldiers or Soldiers in remote locations with the ability to self-assess their own high risk behaviors and influence changes in attitude, belief, and behavior; however, myPRIME is not intended to substitute medical professional care.
Visit your local Army Substance Abuse Program or go to: http://acsap.army.mil/sso/pages/index.jsp to find and learn about the many programs and services available to you.
Food For Thought
During this month, we celebrate our independence! Let us not forget those who have sacrificed their lives for our county and who have served in past, are currently serving, and to all those who will serve in future generations. If you have a loved one serving in the Military, remember that he or she may or may not return emotionally the same after deployment. If one comes home troubled, be patient and ask for patience in return. Seek professional assistance if the problem persists for more than 6 months. As someone who has worked in multiple military settings, I truly appreciate and thank the Service Members and their Military Families for the continuous sacrifices.