Substance Use in Military and Veteran Populations

In honor of National Recovery Month, we encourage all Americans to enroll in our new, free Substance Use in Military and Veteran Populations course. This course will provide you with insight to the issue as well as proven techniques to assist struggling veterans and lead them to a healthy and rewarding lifestyle. Find out more about the Substance Use in Military and Veteran Populations course here.

We interviewed Dr. W. Michael Hunt to learn more about his course and his thoughts on our mission. Check out the full interview below.

Why do you think it is important for civilian service providers to educate themselves on the unique challenges of military and veteran populations regarding addiction and substance abuse?

Addiction and substance use can be such a big problem for the military, complicated by the unique culture within which it occurs.  To be helpful, civilian providers must understand the context and consequences of drug and alcohol use in this population. 

What do you want students to take away from this course?

I would like students of this course to gain an awareness of the factors that can lead to drug or alcohol abuse in the military and veteran populations and to have a better understanding of the large role military culture and context plays in the causes and consequences of such use. 

When did you first become aware of the divide between civilian and military populations?

Not until I started working for the Department of Defense and interacting with active duty patients and mental health providers did I become aware of the divide between civilian and military populations.  As a provider coming from the civilian sector and with no prior military experience, the learning curve was pretty steep for me.

What was evident to you about this population divide?

It became evident that the military is an entirely separate facet of cultural competence providers must obtain when working with this population.  This competence involves factors ranging from language and terminology to understanding the impact of the rigorous lifestyle on service members and their families. 

Why do you think the mission of PsychArmor is important?

Our service members work hard and sacrifice so much to serve and protect the country.  We owe it to them to do the best we can to repay that service with excellent care when it is needed.