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Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System

 

Substance Abuse

shadow of woman trapped behind glass

On average, more than seven percent of Veterans annually report a substance use disorder, according to the Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Younger Veterans are more likely to have a history of substance abuse, and one-fifth of Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are diagnosed with a substance use disorder.

Though more men than women Veterans are treated for substance abuse, the number of women Veterans admitted to treatment programs has been on the rise. More than half of women Veterans in these programs are treated for alcohol abuse and more than one-fifth for cocaine use, followed by opiates, marijuana, and other drugs.

Women face a unique set of challenges associated with their military service that can lead to substance abuse. Studies indicate they are twice as likely as men to develop posttraumatic stress disorder, twice as likely to have serious psychological distress, and approximately one out of five women Veterans reports military sexual trauma.

Effective, scientifically proven treatments for substance abuse problems are available through the VA. Sometimes substance abuse requires continuous care over a long period, while other times it can be resolved more quickly. Options include therapy, either alone with a therapist or in a group, as well as medications. Each VA facility has a Women Veterans Program Manager available to assist women Veterans in getting the help they need.

For more information, contact the Women Veterans Program Manager, Cynthia LeCount, at 504-553-5849.