Military life means lots of changes, and some of them can be really challenging. It’s during tough times that it’s easiest to fall into harmful habits. Watch this video and keep reading to learn about what to look out for and where to turn if things get tough. Healthier habits are within your reach.
Coping? How’s It Going?
Get in Tune With You
Everybody has stress and ways they blow off steam. Sometimes it can be hard to recognize when what you do to cope is working against you. Use this information to guide a little self-reflection and make sure you aren’t crossing the line into harmful habits.
Know Behaviors That Can Become Addictive
Having sex, eating and shopping are normal parts of life. It’s when you lose control and compulsively turn to these behaviors to boost and regulate your emotions that you enter dangerous territory.
Some common types of behaviors that can be addictive include:
- Gambling: You feel you have to place bets, even if they might lead to money trouble.
- Pornography or Promiscuity: Sex becomes your primary focus. You divert attention from other responsibilities and relationships.
- Gaming: You spend so much time playing games that you neglect responsibilities or real-life interactions.
- Emotional Eating: Whether it’s eating too much or too little, food becomes a way to cope with emotions and feelings. You can’t control — or you overcontrol — what and how much you eat.
- Co-dependency: You’re unwilling or unable to leave a relationship that’s dangerous to your well-being.
- Overspending: You buy things you don’t need or want and can’t afford to achieve a temporary high.
Watch for Signs of Trouble
So how do you know when you’re in the danger zone? Here are some red flags of addictive behavior:
- You find yourself thinking about it all of the time.
- You become defensive or lie when others question your behavior.
- You feel anxious or depressed when you stop the behavior.
- You become isolated or withdrawn from family and friends.
- You need to engage in the addictive behavior more often and at higher stakes.
If the addictive behavior involves drugs or alcohol, there are more warning signs to watch for. Any of these warning signs can have other causes, but several could signify a problem.
Left unchecked, addictive coping behaviors have consequences. They can lead to medical problems, relationship problems and problems at work. You can fight back and establish healthier habits with free expert help.
Address Issues With Free Help
The best way to avoid serious trouble is to recognize and address problems early. If you’re concerned about how you’re coping, it’s better to take action now.
- Seek help from a supervisor.
- Talk to a mental health professional.
- Keep an open dialogue with people you care about.
- Explore healthy alternatives for coping with stress.
Worried about a habit?
Contact Military OneSource. We’ll help you connect to free non-medical counseling, health and wellness coaching or sessions with a peer consultant.
Substance use issues?
If you are struggling with addiction, the military has resources to help. Learn more in the article Understanding and Identifying Substance Use Disorders. Learn what to expect in the article Military Policy and Treatment for Substance Use.
You can also get help from your branch’s substance use disorder prevention program:
- Army Substance Abuse Program
- Marine Corps Substance Abuse Program
- Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention
- Air Force Alcohol and Drug Prevention and Treatment (ADAPT) Program
In a crisis?
The Military Crisis Line will connect you to a trained counselor immediately.
In the United States, call 800-273-8255, then press 1. You can access online chat at the Military Crisis Line website or by texting to 838255.
This confidential, immediate help is available 24/7. It’s free for active-duty, Guard and reserve members, their families and friends.
Whatever type of addictive behavior you’re dealing with, you can reclaim control and rediscover your best self. When you’re ready to take action and work toward healthier habits, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact us anytime. We’re here to help.
Note: Military OneSource does not provide medical counseling services for issues such as depression, substance abuse, suicide prevention or post-traumatic stress disorder. This article is intended for informational purposes only. Military OneSource can provide referrals to your local military treatment facility, TRICARE or another appropriate resource.