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Addiction and alcoholism in Vietnam War veterans is a common and perplexing problem that has led to a negative stereotyping of these men who fought in one of the most deadly wars in history. The style of this war – with the Viet Cong’s guerilla tactics – was especially brutal and the young age of the average American soldier left shell-shocked troops in danger of developing psychoses, alcoholism and addiction. Additionally, when these soldiers finally returned home to the US, they were often met by booing crowds that would harass, spit on and publicly degrade them. This type of reception and lack of economic opportunities led to substance abuse and addiction for many Vietnam War veterans.,One of the most significant contributing factors to addiction or alcoholism in Vietnam War veterans is PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious condition that sometimes develops after a person experiences severe stress, emotional trauma or injury. War is especially stressing and cases of PTSD were widespread in US troops during the war, but at the time the condition was poorly understood. Left untreated, many soldiers and sailors treated their symptoms by turning to drugs and alcohol. According to the Vietnam Veterans of America;,”As many Vietnam veterans know, substance abuse often goes hand in hand with PTSD. Among Vietnam veterans seeking treatment for PTSD, 60 to 80 percent have alcohol-use disorders.”,These figures are troubling considering that many Vietnam veterans that have an addiction problem and PTSD or some other mental or emotional condition never seek treatment. This is due in large part to the attitude of the armed forces at the time, which was that men should not show pain or weakness. Consequently, it’s possible that thousands of these vets have died as a result of their conditions.,Some estimates indicate that the number of Vietnam War veterans who suffered from addiction and PTSD or a similar condition is around 100,000. Tens of thousands of these veterans are still alive today and may not be aware of the treatment options that are available to them. The US Department of Veterans Affairs makes treatment for alcoholism or addiction readily available for veterans. However, there are private and other public forms of treatment available as well. All of these generally involve an inpatient treatment program, an outpatient program or a day/night treatment program. Some programs may be used as a step-down from others. In some cases veterans will:,Detox – Detoxing or Acute Withdrawal Syndrome should always be done in a medical setting,Residential Inpatient Treatment – An intense, live-in program that generally lasts for 30 days or longer,Day/Night Treatment – A transitional step from inpatient rehab, this provides intense therapy with more integration into the community,Outpatient Treatment – Often used as a final transition, or when an addict or alcoholic has recently relapsed,Therapy – Ongoing therapy includes family, group and individual behavioral and cognitive therapies,Support Groups – Groups such as AA, NA and Al-ANON can provide a critical support network,If you or someone you love is a Vietnam Veteran suffering from a drug or alcohol problem, the time to get help is now. Even if the person has been drinking or using drugs for a very long time, there are still effective programs available that can help them get clean in as little as a few weeks. The time to start a new life is now.

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