It can be hard for Virginia veterans to readjust after returning home from active duty. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, many veterans turn to drinking alcohol as a coping mechanism. There is a link between PTSD and problems with alcohol, and having either condition puts a veteran more at risk for developing the other. Memories of trauma may prompt a veteran with an alcohol use disorder to go on a drinking binge, and suicide is a greater risk for veterans over 65 who have a drinking problem or depression in combination with PTSD. 

According to WTKR 3 News in Norfolk, a recent study by American Addiction Centers shows that both binge drinking and drunk driving are on the rise among veterans nationwide. Though lower than the national average in a state-by-state breakdown, Virginia’s numbers are still a cause for concern among local advocates against drunk driving, who say that the upward trend indicates a need for treatment in this particular area because the problem of veterans drinking and driving is not going away on its own. 

The study’s authors found that the percentage of Vietnam veterans with a diagnosed alcohol abuse disorder who also demonstrate PTSD symptoms is 60 to 80 percent. The occurrence of binge drinking is higher among this particular group as well. However, the study found that PTSD and alcohol use disorder were likely to occur together throughout the veteran population, regardless of the conflict in which they served.

In order to draw these conclusions, the study analyzed data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.