Flying High: Everything You Need to Know About Addiction in Fighter Pilots

Fighter pilots have been put in extremely dangerous and scary situations frequently…

It’s part of the job.

But, when the fighter pilot you know and love is struggling with addiction, it can be hard to quite grasp what it is they are going through. The statistics are shocking and they definitely aren’t alone – but, as someone from the outside, you might not be able to see even a glimpse into their world.

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Why are fighter pilots so susceptible?

By definition, a fighter pilot is a military aviator who is trained to fly in the cockpit of a fighter aircraft and engage in air-to-air combat. Sounds pretty scary, right? They are literally fighting with military weapons while in the air. This can lead to a lot of fear and anxiety, only increasing their susceptibility to addiction.

The physical conditions could also lead to increased drug abuse. Pilots are required to stay awake for long periods of time and while in grueling conditions. They also might experience physical pain as a result of their career choice, leading to further susceptibility to drug abuse.

In addition to the nature of the job and the task at hand, long and strenuous hours can also lead to an increased rate of drug abuse.

What is the statistics?

Research shows that in around 15-20 percent of all aviation incidents and accidents, pilots tested positive for the use of some type of substance. Among pilots, the most commonly used substance is marijuana and alcohol which could both easily impair the pilot’s skills in the time of an emergency.

To put the numbers into perspective, data shows that pilots have a rate of substance abuse comparable to top executives, legal professionals, and physicians. However, the pilots who suffer from substance abuse are on average older than the general population who suffers from abuse.

Conclusion

Research and statistics show that anyone is susceptible to addiction. Some are more susceptible than others, and a big part of this can be the nature and conditions of their career choice. However, as a pilot or other major public figure, it is important that we ensure these professionals remain in top shape with good health. Substance abuse in pilots can be both harmful to them and those around them.

It is important to know the signs of abuse, how to treat it, and what you can do to prevent it in yourself and those around you.

 

It Affects You Too: How to Deal with Addiction in Your Loved Ones

While most addicts come off as selfish…

Leaving people questioning:

How could you do this to your family?

People Standing on Dock during Sunrise

Don’t you care that you are hurting those around you?

 

The real problem is that they are so blindsided by their drug of choice that they do not even notice that their addiction is hurting those around them. In their mind, they think they are only hurting themselves. However, this mentality only makes things worse…

Because the truth is – the addict is hurting everyone they come in contact with. It could be as simple as upsetting their parents because they are watching them be so sickly to something more major like physically abusing their spouse or children. Whatever the case may be, addiction is not a victimless crime.

But, oftentimes, people are so focused on the recovery of the addiction they forget to focus on the friends and family hurt by the addiction. As the loved ones of an addict, not only are you effected but you still remain their support system and you need to be prepared for how to deal with their addiction.

A few tips to ensure your mental and physical health stay in check during the process include:

  1. Discover how to love an addicted person and still stay healthy. Seems almost contradictive, doesn’t it? Addiction can be toxic – even for those not suffering directly from it. Learn how to distance yourself when needed, learn how to avoid stressful situations that might put you in an uncomfortable or risky position.
  2. Stop blaming yourself. Even if you feel as though you might have caused the addiction, ultimately it is their decision. They made the choice to pick up that bottle or that dirty needle – you did not place it in their hand.Take a step back and examine your part in this. You are there to help them, but you did not do the damage so you should not feel guilty.
  3. Understand the difference between “self-care” and “selfish.” This is seen in addicts and in caretakers, you can easily forget about yourself and feel guilty if taking time for yourself – feeling like you are selfish. However, that is just a misconception that creeps in. Taking time for self-care is not selfish – you need time to rest, rejuvenate, and focus on you.Addiction can be contagious, especially if you are putting yourself in extremely harsh physical and mental situations. You are not helping them any more if you are not first helping yourself.

 

 

Addiction in Military Personnel: 10 Signs You Might Have an Addiction

Addiction is like a slithering snake…

It can readily and easily sneak up on you when you least expect it, bite you with its venomous teeth and before you know it, taking you by its wrath.

While people understand that drugs and alcohol are addictive substances, even the addicts themselves are often blindsided by their addiction…

Especially for fighter pilots and other military personnel, the acts and events seen at war can lead to mental health issues that are not properly dealt with. Furthermore, once the service member returns home, they might resume their previous recreational drug or drinking habits…

Person in Blue Jeans and Brown Suede Shoes Standing Near Camouflage Backpack Brown Hiking Boots and American Flag on Floor

However, this time they might become addictive. As the sadness and anxiety set in from being in the field, they can find themselves drinking or using a little extra and it just gradually begins to escalate.

The issue with this is that as it suddenly escalates, each time the limit is raised that becomes their new normal. They adjust to drinking or using that much and then the amount will just continue to increase, but they will either not realize it or not acknowledge it.

If you have noticed that you are relying more on drugs and alcohol, or maybe you have recently picked up these activities due to your emotional state and did not previously partake in them, here are 10 signs you might have an addiction:

    1. You crave your drug of choice. You find yourself thinking about it when you don’t have it and deeply desiring access to it when it is not available.
    2. You have become physically dependent on it. You do not feel up to par if you don’t have it. You might find yourself irritable or even sick.
    3. You have built up a tolerance to it. You notice you are needing to use or consume more and more in order to feel the same way.
    4. You are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. This goes hand-in-hand with becoming physically dependent on it.
    5. You are drug-seeking. This could also be alcohol, too. You are constantly looking for ways to get the substance next.
    6. Your judgment is poor. You begin doing things like driving under the influence of your drug of choice.
    7. It is causing you financial trouble. Addicts will often put their drug of choice before anything else, sometimes even skip a house payment to feed their addiction.
    8. You have become isolated. You no longer want to go watch your kid’s extracurricular activities or be a part of family functions.
    9. You have developed unhealthy friendships. If you start noticing everyone around you has the same problem, this is probably the case.
    10. You neglect your responsibilities. When your addiction is causing you to miss work or other obligations, it is becoming a problem.

Addiction in Fighter Pilots: What You Need to Know

Do you ever find yourself just feeling helpless? Like you have just run out of options or you are just at a loss for words?

You might find yourself feeling this way quite often if a fighter pilot you know and love has found themselves in the midst of addiction – whether it be to drugs or alcohol.

 

Oftentimes, those who have spouses or other loved ones who have found themselves in the midst of addiction are incredibly unsure what to do…

What do you say?

How do you help them?

When have you done or said too much?

You will frequently find yourself asking questions like that as you struggle to decide what to do – what is best and how much is too much. However, when dealing with addiction in fighter pilots, other military personnel, or really just any addict in general, there are a few things to keep in mind…

You will never understand.

This is probably no secret to you – and your addicted loved one has probably also made this very clear – but you will never understand. A special circumstance that comes with fighter pilot addiction is the events leading up to the addiction…

So, not only will you not understand what it is like to be addicted to something – unless you are a recovering addict yourself – you will also not understand what it is like to see the things they have seen and be in the positions they have been in. The events that take place in war take a toll on fighter pilots both mentally and physically, easily leading them to addiction.

So, as you try to help your loved one, be open-minded and try to console them with the typical, “I understand.”

They will need time to grieve.

They may want you involved in their grieving and they may not – it is all about how they feel best about going about it and what is beneficial to their healing.

Most fighter pilots, and other military personnel alike, often find themselves holding their emotions in. This can also aid in their falling into addiction.

Grey Jet Plane

As they begin to recover, they will need to grieve for two things: the times they had in the military – losses suffered, terrible acts were seen – and the quitting of their drug of choice. The drug is their crutch and it has continued to be a part of their life. In order to recover, it takes a grieving period just realizing that it is time to lose the substance and move on.

Wrapping It Up

In conclusion, addicts need help, love, and support. But, they also need you to be understanding and to learn how to properly help them.

Aiding an addict in recovery is a team effort that takes time and dedication from everyone.

 

 

Addiction and Substance Abuse: How is it plaguing our military?

It is no secret that the military is a tough job…

While people do go into the field willingly, it does not come without first understanding what they are getting into and the events they could potentially be exposed to.

Line of Soldiers Walkin

The harshness of the elements, lack of sleep, extended time away from family – all of these factors combined can really begin to change a person.

Why is substance abuse so prevalent?

While everyone is affected by these situations, some struggle with it in a different way. Unfortunately for some military personnel, the events of war can lead to struggles with substance abuse and addiction.

Especially in our veterans, substance abuse and addiction are becoming increasingly prevalent…

Combat is vastly different from how it used to be and now the increased trauma and terror has begun to take a toll on our service members.

One main door to addiction is prescription pain killers…

As these service members return from war with injuries causing excruciating pain, they are frequently treated using prescription painkillers. However, this method of treatment is highly addictive and over time can lead to abuse and addiction of the prescribed medication.

Substance abuse can be used as a method to deal with problematic symptoms of mental or physical injuries or disorders.

What is the statistics?

Numerous studies have shown a correlation between veteran substance abuse, depression, and suicide. In fact, in a single study involving around 600 veterans – who had been deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan – 39 percent showed a positive screening for probable alcohol abuse. Furthermore, 3 percent showed a positive screening for probable drug abuse.

So, what does that mean? That means that in that single study, a total of 42 percent of veterans showed signs of probable abuse – whether it is drugs or alcohol. The numbers speak for themselves – that is almost 50 percent of our veterans.

Furthermore, these statistics show numerous people who are at risk of suicide. One of the major negative causes of addiction is the depression and sadness it can lead to. Unfortunately, this depression and sadness can also lead to harming others, self-harm, and even suicide.

Do you know a veteran that needs help? Or maybe you are the veteran or a current fighter pilot suffering from addiction?

Make yourself aware of the signs of addiction and take action before it is too late.

 

Get the help you need, today. Your new future awaits you right outside the door of recovery.