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Comparing life experiences in active addiction and recovery between veterans and non-veterans: a national study.

Laudet A, Timko C, Hill T. Comparing life experiences in active addiction and recovery between veterans and non-veterans: a national study. Journal of addictive diseases. 2014 Jan 1; 33(2):148-62.

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The costs of addiction are well documented, but the potential benefits of recovery are less well known. Similarly, substance use issues among both active duty military personnel and veterans are well known but their recovery experiences remain underinvestigated. Furthermore, little is known about whether and how addiction and recovery experiences differ between veterans and non-veterans. This knowledge can help refine treatment and recovery support services. Capitalizing on a national study of individuals in recovery (N = 3,208), we compare addiction and recovery experiences among veterans (n = 481) and non-veterans. Veterans' addiction phase was 4 years longer than non-veterans and they experienced significantly more financial and legal problems. Dramatic improvements in functioning were observed across the board in recovery with subgroup differences leveling off. We discuss possible strategies to address the specific areas where veterans are most impaired in addiction and note study limitations including the cross-sectional design.

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