Deployment Stress and Addiction

Deployment Stress and AddictionMilitary personnel who are facing deployment overseas feel stress and anxiety over the impending changes in their lives and the unforeseeable experiences that lie ahead. Any new posting involves uncertainty that may lead to stress or anxiety. Deployment to a combat zone in particular can lead to stress that may manifest itself in a variety of symptoms including drug abuse or addiction.

Stress has a tendency to build up over time and get worse, so military personnel who are experiencing stress for any reason should seek counseling. Servicemen and women who are dealing with addiction or substance abuse issues should seek professional treatment before deployment, as the stress that underlies the addiction is likely to increase during the mission and will be much harder to cope with under those circumstances.

Symptoms of Stress

Basic stress results from the circumstances in a person’ life, and impending deployment is almost certain to result in some degree of stress. Stress symptoms may include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Digestive problems
  • Problems with relationships
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse and addiction

If you are facing deployment and find yourself experiencing any or all of these symptoms, you may be suffering from stress.

Risk Factors for Stress and Addiction

The stress of impending deployment may be harder for some people to cope with than others. Certain risk factors make some people more likely than others to experience higher stress levels due to circumstances such as impending deployment. These same individuals may also be more likely to experience serious stress-related issues such as addiction. Stress tends to build up over time, especially if it has not been adequately treated. A person who has had stress issues, depression or traumatic experiences in the past is more likely to experience a high level of stress due to impending deployment and is also more likely to develop a more serious stress disorder such as acute stress disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder once he or she is exposed to the high stress environment of a war zone.

The risk factors for experiencing stress are also risk factors for developing substance abuse or addiction issues. A person who has experienced substance abuse issues or addiction in the past is more likely to respond to stress by seeking escape in substance abuse. Stress may also lead to gambling or other behavioral addictions, eating disorders or additional mental health concerns.

Need Help Finding Treatment for Stress or Addiction?

Being deployed overseas for military service may lead to stress-related issues such as drug abuse or addiction. Even if drug abuse is not an issue, service personnel facing deployment may experience other debilitating symptoms of stress such as fatigue, depression and insomnia and can benefit from treatment. If you feel stress and anxiety about your impending deployment and would like to speak to someone about options for treatment and ways to cope with your stress, call us. Our helpline is toll free, and we are available 24 hours a day.