According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately 10% of veterans of the war in Afghanistan are diagnosed with PSTD, 11% from Iraq.  In “the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, about 1 in 10 (10%) returning soldiers seen in VA have a problem with alcohol or other drugs.” It seems like an easy match, if you were to attribute one directly to the other–but the truth is more complicated than that.

The VA also estimates that more than only “2 of 10 Veterans with PTSD also have SUD (Substance Use Disorder),” which means that the other 8 out of 10 got it from somewhere else. Of course there is a lot of ambiguity when you consider that not all cases of PTSD are reported, that people enter the military with issues in the first place, and that this could also be attributed to internal issues that go unidentified, like sexual assault, hazing or other serious internal problems.

Still, a lot of veterans struggle with something that is rarely identified.

If you’re in the military, you probably have either experienced something profoundly traumatic or know someone who has. You may have been neck-deep in firefights on the mountains of Afghanistan, or barreled through the streets of Baghdad in humvees under fire. Maybe you got blown up or shot or had something unforgettably gruesome happen right before your eyes. Those are the people we hear about. Studies are conducted and doctors are consulted, and rightfully so. Many of these people have serious issues with that they will struggle with for the rest of their lives–it will keep them from falling asleep, affect their relationships and impact their careers.