Military Women, Substance Abuse and Eating Disorders

Military Women, Substance Abuse and Eating DisordersGreat strides have been made when it comes to allowing women to serve in the military. Battlefield results have proven what most Americans already knew: women are more than equal to the task. There are currently female soldiers flying attack helicopters, driving tanks, providing logistical support, serving as combat medics and disarming explosives. While all of this bodes very well for the respect of women’s rights, this level of service also places women, like their male comrades before them, at an increased risk of developing a range of psychological disorders, including substance abuse disorders and eating disorders.

Substance Abuse among Female Soldiers

Substance abuse has long been one of the most common struggles of military life for men, and women are certainly just as vulnerable. Military life is stressful, physically demanding and mentally exhausting. Blowing off steam while on leave is one thing, but many soldiers turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of self-medicating their symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.) The tough and individualistic culture of the military often prevents soldiers from admitting their need for help. Women may feel especially insecure about seeking help as they may fear that others will think that they are weak or unfit to serve.

Eating Disorders among Military Women

Eating disorders are complicated psychological and physiological diseases that are driven by many of the same mental processes that cause substance abuse and addiction. Women in the military develop eating disorders for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • They seek control over some aspect of their lives.
  • They fear gaining weight and becoming unfit to serve.
  • They struggle with body image issues.
  • They fend off feelings of anxiety, stress or fear by starving themselves.

The chemical reaction that happens in the brain due to hunger can approximate a sort of “high” that can be every bit as addictive as any drug.

Comprehensive Treatment for Women in the Military

Women in the military need specialized comprehensive treatment for all aspects of their physical and emotional health in order to find lasting recovery from issues such as compulsive behaviors and substance abuse. Through specialized counseling, support groups, skill development and education, these women can learn new and healthy ways to handle the pressures and stress of military life.

Whether still in active duty or adjusting to civilian life after service, women with military backgrounds often benefit greatly from holistic counseling and treatment. If you are a military woman struggling with life-controlling issues, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our counselors are standing by 24 hours a day with confidential advice and access to the most effective treatment programs available. Don’t continue to suffer in silence. Call now and let us help you find the freedom you deserve.