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Veterans Who Suffer With Dual Disorders

Veterans Who Suffer With Dual Disorders

Dual disorders among veterans


Dual disorders are common in individuals whose life and career subjects them to traumatizing events. A good example of such individuals is soldiers, servicemen, and veterans who witness death and other severe conditions during their duty. Dual disorders are cases in patients that result from mental problems and substance abuse. Research shows that most people develop mental problems due to substance and drug abuse. Veterans and servicemen encounter a myriad of problems in the course of the war. Many develop injuries to the extent that they require evacuation from the battlefront. The most common of these injuries are brain injuries that lead to hearing problems and mental disorders. Countries have measures and policies that help care for veterans’ health issues. For instance, the United States has the Department of Veteran Affairs, which attends to the medical needs of veterans (Justice, Erdos, Brandt, Conigliaro, Tierney & Bryant, 2006). The majority of veterans display a common health trait. Most veterans suffer from dual disorders, implying they are victims of substance abuse and mental illnesses. The following is a literature review of literary work that provides evidence of the recurrent cases of dual disorders among veterans.

Vets’ health and social problems

Many scholars have expressed that most health conditions affecting veterans develop after they leave the battle. Veteran healthcare guidance published (2010) gives out some facts about the Iraq war veterans. The article indicates that at least one veteran in a group of ten veterans suffers mental problems. Most of these vets are victims of alcohol abuse and often involve themselves in violent behaviors. According to this article, most vets turn to drugs due to depression and frustration. The condition worsens after they leave the battlefield because they cannot access peer counselors or other medical facilities. Veterans’ healthcare. (2009) shares the same sentiments in an article, featured in Paraplegia News. It argues that veterans in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffer from depression and stress disorders. The article raises concerns that veterans do not receive adequate medical care from the government despite their sacrifices and contributions. The two articles are relevant to the research because they prove cases of dual disorders among vets.

Dreher (2009) uses the results of a research on the plight of veterans and soldiers after to develop arguments in his article. The article indicates that close to 40% of soldiers and vets suffer from mental illnesses and the related behaviors. The seal team conducted a research on the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in the Veteran Affairs medical centers. The research results showed that most of the veterans diagnosed in the facility suffered from depression and psychological problems and behaviors. The American Legion guide on women veterans shows that most women veterans engage in substance and drug abuse due to depression. Chang, Stein, Stewart, Hendricks and Skarf (2012) outline the importance of spiritual help to veterans. The spiritual help will help the vets to overcome the difficult experiences that affect their mental capabilities.  The VA (Veteran Administration) offers spiritual help to veterans. This evidence proves that most veterans suffer from dual disorders (Zivin, Ganoczy & Paul, 2009).

The cost of taking care of veterans

The US has spent huge amounts of money caring for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. The US discovered a rise in the number of cases of mental disorders and hence the need to develop a panel to cater for their needs. Kenny (2010) shows the cost estimates that the US government speculated to care for issues related to veteran health. The health issues of the veterans range from disabilities to other medical reasons. However, most of the costs cater for restoring the mental conditions of veterans. The US government has spent a lot of money on improving the welfare of veterans. The government incurs such medical costs on veterans because of its understanding of the risks associated with the medical conditions of veterans (Amara & Hendricks, 2009). Therefore, the two articles show that cases of dual disorders in veterans are so severe that they force the US government to allocate resources towards veterans’ medical care.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and substance abuse among veterans

The battlefield results in death and injuries of colleagues. The trauma of the experiences of the battlefront haunts the veterans even after they return to their homes. Depression forces them to turn into drugs as a measure of fighting their frustrations. Many veterans turn into drug abuse and substance abuse where they develop mental disorders. Cacciola,  Koppenhaver,  Alterman & McKay (2009) argue that most of the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, which is a mental condition that develops from depression and withdrawal. These mental conditions make it difficult for veterans join their families and friends after war. In most cases, veterans are subject to alcohol and nicotine abuse, which adds to the health risks of most veterans (Stecker, Fortney, Owen, McGovern & Williams, 2010).

It is difficult to treat cases of post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse among veterans. This is due to different cultural and religious beliefs. Some have serious injuries and wounds, but their religions and culture denies medical staff the opportunity of attending to their needs (Wallace, Myers & Osai, 2004). The care for veterans has changed in the recent past. Many health institutions isolated the veterans from the rest of the patients, but this has changed in an attempt to improve the welfare of veterans. Doctors have come up with new diagnosis tactics of addressing health issues that affect veterans as well as new medications. Most countries must take care of their veterans after a war to help them in restarting their lives (Davidson, 2010). It is evident that veterans have been suffering from depression, withdrawal and mental problems due to the effects of the war environment. These development help in addressing the research question and it is the reason that the literature review has found them useful.


The department of Veteran Affairs has attended to many cases of mental problems and substance abuse among many veterans. Trauma and depression affect the veterans and soldiers after events of a war. It is difficult for the veterans to re-unite with their families and friends due to their health conditions. Isolation from other members of society develops feelings of withdrawal and depression in veterans. Depression forces them into drug and substance abuse, which makes them develop violent and rude behaviors. Cases of dual disorders are common for most veterans especially in the United States. The cases affect the veterans and their families severely to an extent that forced the US to budget for the medical requirements of the veterans. Different researchers and scholars have explored the field of veteran health and the effects of war on veterans. Most of them base their research on Iraq and Afghanistan war to make conclusions about veterans in other countries. Different research and articles show that the number of veteran cases has increased, not to mention women veterans (Campbell & Alexander, 2005). Most of the research studies on the Iraq and Afghanistan war indicate that the majority of soldiers and veterans who survived were diagnosed with cases of mental problems and substance abuse. The department of Veteran Affairs (VA) caters for all the needs of veterans including offering them comprehensive health care. Close to 40% of all the Iraq and Afghanistan vets are victims of substance abuse and suffer from mental disorders. Therefore, the literature review above proves that dual disorders among veterans are conditions that have enough weight of qualify as a research topic.


Chang, B, Stein, N, Stewart, M, Hendricks, A, & Skarf, L. (2012). Spiritual needs of veterans: healthcare implications for returning troops. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 12(1), 406.

Wallace, J. M., Myers, V. L., & Osai, E. R. (2004). Faith Matters: Race/Ethnicity, Religion and Substance Use. Faith Matters, 1-56.

Stecker, T., Fortney, J., Owen, R., McGovern, M. P., & Williams, S. (2010). Co-Occurring Medical, Psychiatric, and Alcohol-Related Disorders Among Veterans Returning From Iraq and Afghanistan. Psychosomatics; Washington, 51(6), 507.

Kenny, P. (2010). Message from the president. The healthcare needs of our veterans. Pennsylvania Nurse, 65(3), 3-23.

Justice, A., Erdos, J., Brandt, C., Conigliaro, J., Tierney, W., & Bryant, K. (2006). The Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. Medical Care, 44(2), 7-12.

Campbell, C., & Alexander, J. A. (2005). Health Services for Women in Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment. Health Services Research, 40(3), 781-810.

Cacciola, J. S., Koppenhaver, J. M., Alterman, A. I., & McKay, J. R. (2009). Posttraumatic stress disorder and other psychopathology in substance abusing patients. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 101(1), 33

Veteran healthcare guidance published. (2010). RoSPA Occupational Safety & Health Journal, 40(11), 6.

Dreher, H. M. (2009). Veteran’s healthcare: is there any innovation here? Holistic nursing practice, 23(2), 83.

Amara, J., & Hendricks, A. (2009). Issues of the Iraq and Afghan Wars: Short – and Long-term impacts on US Veterans’ Healthcare. Defense & Security Analysis, 25(3), 285-298.

Veterans’ healthcare. (2009). Paraplegia News, 63(9), 60.

Zivin, K., Ganoczy, D., & Paul, N. (2009). Antidepressant Adherence After Psychiatric Hospitalization Among VA Patients with Depression. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research; New York, 36(6), 15.

Davidson, L. (2010). Healthcare for U.S. Veterans: Is the system sufficient? The Internet Journal of Healthcare Administration, 7(1).

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