Veterans Day — November 11, 2020

On Wednesday, November 11, 2020, the banks will be closed. You won’t get mail, and you might have a day off from school or work. You might know that it’s Veterans Day, but do you know why we celebrate this special day?

When war doesn’t affect us directly or isn’t fought on our soil, it’s easier to forget the efforts of those who have served in the military. When we’re enjoying a good dinner and sleeping in our warm beds, there are service members working to keep people safe. That’s why we celebrate Veterans Day. It’s a way to honor the efforts and accomplishments of all those who have served in the military.

Life isn’t always easy for veterans when they come home

Often, when we think of veterans who are stationed overseas or fighting for our freedom, we imagine that they dream of returning home to their previous lives. While this is true for many service members, there is no denying that many veterans face significant challenges when they come home.

Some people who fought in combat or witnessed traumatic events struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the number of service members who have the condition differ, depending on when they served.

For example, Desert Storm veterans have about a 12 percent rate of post-traumatic stress disorder. More recent veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom have 11 to 20 percent rates of PTSD.

In addition to emotional issues, an astounding number of veterans suffer from physical pain as well. People might not receive adequate treatment for injuries they sustained while serving. To cope with such physical or emotional pain, people might use and overuse medications to get through each day.

Addiction in veterans

Not surprisingly, then, there’s a strong link between PTSD and addiction. For veterans and others, addiction is not a moral failing, but more a way to cope with physical and emotional pain.

According to Once a Soldier, an estimated one in five veterans struggle with a substance use disorder and 20 percent of vets struggle with addiction to opioids or other substances.

Even with Veterans Day, it’s important to note that too often, the experiences of these men and women are under acknowledged. That’s why it’s important to recognize and address their needs when it comes to treating addictions and other lingering effects of their military service.

This year, for Veterans Day, take a moment to show respect for our vets. If you know any struggling veterans, if you can, offer to give them your understanding and support.

Sources

military.com – Veterans Day

ptsd.va.gov – How Common Is PTSD in Veterans?

onceasoldier.org – Veteran PTSD and Opioid Addiction Statistics

sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Guidance for Veterans and Their Families

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