As the release of the long-awaited Top Gun: Maverick has amply demonstrated, many people have an appetite for exciting stories about the military. That’s understandable. After all, movies like Top Gun and its sequel are bursting with heroism and bravado and amazing feats of derring-do. Viewers get to imagine themselves as part of that group of heroes reshaping the world for good and overcoming their personal demons.
But unless they have served themselves, most people never have to grapple with the realities of military service. The people who serve in the armed forces of the United States often face challenges that most civilians can’t truly imagine. They have to rely on their training, their chain of command, and each other to overcome those challenges and accomplish their missions. And the cost can, of course, be very high.
Often, however, these brave individuals find that the biggest challenge they face is readjusting to civilian life. And sometimes, veterans can be reluctant to seek out the help they need to make the adjustment in healthy ways.
Let’s take a look at why that might be true—and what the consequences of that reluctance can be.
Veterans Are Often Committed to Self-Reliance
Life in the military often involves teamwork, but it also fosters a spirit of toughness and self-reliance. In civilian life, however, those tendencies can get in the way when a veteran needs help dealing with mental health disorders—whether those disorders predate their service, developed in response to their experiences while serving the country, or a combination of the two. Issues might include:
- A sense of shame or embarrassment that they cannot seem to overcome issues on their own
- A sense that no one in civilian life can really understand what they have gone through
- A desire to represent the military in a positive manner
Factors like those can prevent a veteran from seeking out treatment for serious issues like anxiety, depression, or trauma-based disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder. Instead, they try to tough it out, keep others from discovering they are struggling, and behave as if nothing is wrong.
And that can all too easily lead to other issues.
Veterans Sometimes Turn to Drugs or Alcohol
The mental health disorders are problematic enough, but in many cases that problem is made worse by a veteran’s efforts to deal with the emotional pain they are experiencing by self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. Alternately (or even concurrently), a vet who is dealing with intense physical pain as a result of an injury sustained while serving may develop a dependency on prescription painkillers.
The very same issues that have prevented a veteran from getting mental health care may prevent them from seeking out help for their substance use disorder. At this point, it may seem truly impossible to escape the downward spiral in which they find themselves.
Fortunately, that is not the case.
Tactical Recovery Can Help Veterans Overcome a Range of Difficulties
Tactical Recovery serves veterans via its trauma-informed model and culturally competent approach to treatment. Or to put it more simply: Tactical Recovery is designed to meet the specific needs of veterans who are dealing with mental health disorders, substance use disorders, or both.
That may not sound like the stuff of movie heroism—and it isn’t. But it does align with the military values of working together to get an essential job done. And make no mistake: addressing mental health and substance use disorders effectively are absolutely essential missions.
The Tactical Recovery program, created in collaboration with the national nonprofit known as PsychArmor, is one of the services available at Peak View Behavioral Health.
We Are Eager to Serve Those Who Have Served
Those who have served our country so bravely and faithfully have more than earned our respect. And that respect drives Peak View’s commitment to helping veterans face the challenges of reintegrating into civilian life.
If you are struggling with a mental health disorder, with drugs or alcohol, or with both, professionals at our Colorado facility can help. The Tactical Recovery program has been designed specifically for veterans, but you can rest assured that we treat each person we work with as an individual to ensure they get the specific treatment they need to reclaim their life as a civilian.
While we wish everyone who has served had a movie-worthy experience to look back upon, we know that is not always (or even often) the case. It would be our honor to help you come to terms with the personal impacts of your service.