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Mental Illness in the Military

Solve the Riddle

What is something that you cannot take with you when you join the military but are almost certain to bring it back home with you? The answer is a mental illness. The statistics are literally mind-blowing. Dads, Moms, husbands, and wives will leave to go to the military and never return the same.

Returning Home Broken

PTSD In MilitaryReturning troops have served in Iraq or Afghanistan (or both) and many have seen things that raw nightmares are made of, extremely traumatic events. They return and are plagued with recurring nightmares, they can’t sleep, they don’t want to talk about what happened while they were on active duty, and most normal performance has since ceased for them.

They are diagnosed with depression, PTSD, which are the most common but far from exclusive. The numbers are real. Psychiatrists estimate that 1 in 3 U.S. soldiers will suffer from PTSD after returning home. The rate for PTSD is two times higher for those men and women who served two tours, which makes up approximately 40 percent of all U.S. troops.

Between 2002 and 2012, 1.6 million servicemen and women left active duty and became eligible for veteran health care. Only 56 percent of all veterans sought treatment by the end of 2012. 30 percent of soldiers will develop mental problems within 3 to 4 months of being home.

Military Sexual Trauma

55 percent of women and 38 percent of men report being victim to sexual harassment while serving in the military. Because there are more men than women in the military, more than half of all Veterans experiencing military sexual trauma are men, according to an article in Do Something.

Substance Abuse ResultsSubstance Abuse


What is the result of all these numbers? An estimated 20 percent of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans turn to heavy drinking or drugs once they return to the U.S.  Between 10 and 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Brain injuries can trigger anger, suicidal thoughts, and changes in personality. In 2010, an average of 22 veterans committed suicide every day. The group with the highest number of suicides was men ages 50-59.

If you recognize any of the following symptoms from a loved one that has served in the military please seek help immediately. Unusual behavior, drug or alcohol abuse, hopelessness, uncontrolled rage, dramatic mood changes, drastic sleep patterns, or threatened or attempted self-harm are all red flags that cannot be ignored.


KLEAN understands that veteran substance abuse is a growing problem in the United States. As military members return from deployment suffering from physical and mental health problems and disabilities due to their experiences while deployed, substance abuse becomes more prevalent. KLEAN can help and offers a dual diagnosis treatment program.

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Mental Illness and Addiction