Substance use and mental health issues can be devastating for military service members, veterans and their families. It’s never easy to watch someone you love suffer. Well-meaning relatives and friends may wish to step in and help, but find themselves at a loss for ways to be supportive.
Military families often face unique challenges related to addiction and mental illness. Veterans might try to hide their struggles from their families, believing that they need to put painful memories behind them, remain stoic or put on a brave face. They may avoid opening up about what they’re feeling because their families won’t understand what they’ve experienced, becoming distant and withdrawn. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that veterans commonly face, such as hypervigilance and aggression, can also lead to family conflict.