Co-occurring disorders or dual diagnoses are common in veterans with PTSD. The same experiences that leave veterans susceptible to developing PTSD also make them more likely to develop a substance use disorder or addiction. Data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) shows 80% of people with PTSD meet the diagnostic criteria for one or more additional mental health conditions.
After deployment, war and the stressors of military life, veterans may turn to substances in order to feel better, cope with anxiety and feelings of sadness and escape the reality of what they’ve seen and experienced.
Examples of mental health related and medical issues that may co-occur with PTSD include:
- Night terrors or other sleep problems
- Substance use
- Moral injury
- Neurocognitive problems
- Anger and violent behavior
- Pain and physical health problems
People with PTSD are also more prone to problems functioning, reduced quality of life and relationship issues.