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Psychological Effects of Military Training

Psychological Effects of Military Training

From our active duty combat soldiers to our military nurses, training is rigorous and often traumatic. In particular, the psychological effects of military training alter the personality, emotional stability, and social function of the individual. These alterations can cause anxiety, insomnia, and other mental health conditions, which often lead to substance abuse. Drug or alcohol use tends to be a coping mechanism for many active-duty members or veterans. Let’s dive further into the reasoning behind psychological distress inflicted by military training.  

Military Mental Health Requirements  

The military takes mental health extremely seriously. For instance, a person is unable to enter the Armed Forces if they underwent inpatient or outpatient medical care at a wellness facility for anxiety in the twelve months prior to applying. The military is strict about these matters; however, the army is beginning to loosen its grip on mental health regulations.  

Another example is someone who has Aspergers. The Department of Defense treats this syndrome as an automatic mental health disqualifier, although someone with a proven mild condition may be able to receive a waiver from the military. A few mental health disqualifiers include:  

  • Bipolar disorder 
  • Severe or major depression disorder (proven with records) 
  • Severe OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) 
  • PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)  
  • Autism (Eligible for a waiver)  

Typically, if a person receives treatment up to thirty-six months prior to applying for the military, the chance of not receiving a waiver is high. A person must be prepared to manage intense levels of stress and, according to psychological estimates, as stress levels increase, anxiety and aggression formulate. Unless this is properly handled, mentally and emotionally, then eventually, a mental health condition can begin.  

How Does the Military Change Your Mentality? 

How does the military change your brain and mentality? First, the age of injury matters. It also matters depending on whether the individual is a veteran or not. Experiencing pain brought on by pressure from your job, team, or peers can inflict depressive episodes and other conditions. According to a research experiment, 22 veterans were compared with 30 non-veterans but matched for age and other crucial factors. The researchers discovered that the veterans had deficits in neural networks related to sensory processing, motor coordination, and mood regulation.2 

The importance of training is not only to become physically strong but to become able to quickly adapt to your environment and other requirements. The main cause of adjustment disorders or mental health conditions is the inability to quickly adapt to and manage stress. The military can either change your perspective and morality in a positive way, granting you the opportunities to handle a situation in numerous efforts, or negatively impact your mentality, which may alter your personality to display vulnerability, aggression, and paranoia.  

The primary psychological effects of military training center around stress. Stress shrinks the brain. Chronic stress causes emotional damage, issues regarding metabolism, and memory loss. A returning active duty soldier or veteran should consider family services or establishing a support system to freely express their emotions and struggles that build up due to intense training.  

Recovery From the Mental Effects of Military Training at Banyan 

At Banyan Treatment Centers Military & Veterans in Recovery, we offer a superb medical detox for clients who use drugs like alcohol as a coping mechanism to withstand the mental strain from training or from adapting to coming home. We work with our clients to establish a treatment plan that best fits their needs and recovery goals. Don’t wait to get back on track and live the life you dreamed of.  

Speak to a specialist at our Military rehab center by calling 888-280-4763 and asking about our outpatient or inpatient treatment program to get started today! 



  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1994-33459-001 
  2. https://dana.org/article/how-military-service-changes-the-brain/ 


Related Readings:  

Sensory Processing Disorder 

Addiction Recovery: Overcoming Guilt and Shame 

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.