Substance Use

Returning service members have a higher rate of alcohol and substance use than Americans of the same age who have not seen combat. One of the contributing factors may be self-medication for chronic pain or sleep problems, according to nurse practitioner Helen Coronel:

Drinking Alcohol Is Counter-Productive When Trying to Get Good Sleep After a Brain Injury

"Typically it's sleep that's going to get them to use alcohol as a self-medication…"

Cognitive and mental issues arising from combat exposure can also contribute to drug abuse. With so many contributing factors, the rate of substance abuse is high in returning service members who have had a concussion.

Alcohol Abuse Is Unfortunately All Too Common for Young Service Members with TBI

"In my career prior to this, I've never seen a large population of young men drink to this extent in the numbers that I've seen."