In this first part of the episode, podcast hosts Levi Sowers and Brandon Rea interview Army Veteran Trever Siver, who candidly discusses trauma, mental health and substance use. Trever recounts his childhood, time in the Army as a cook, and his battle with addiction and journey to sobriety.
Trever was born and raised in Iowa. While in high school, Trever joined the Army and served from 1999 to 2004, serving in Korea and Germany. Trever survived multiple traumatic injuries. He received opiates to the manage the pain, eventually leading to a long-term battle with substance use. With the support of Dr. Anthony Miller, a practicing psychiatrist and the medical director for Addictive Disorder Services at VA, Trever worked to get clean and continues to receive services from VA.
In the second part of the episode, hosts interview Levi’s hometown friend and Army Veteran, Henry Uken. Henry speaks openly about his experiences in the Army, the TBI injuries he sustained during deployment and his symptoms he still experiences today. He also details his recovery with substance use disorder and mental health treatment after discharge.
Henry Uken grew up in Perry, Iowa with Levi Sowers. Henry served in Army until May 2013, where he deployed multiple times to both Iraq and Afghanistan. While serving, Henry sustained multiple blast injuries, resulting in traumatic brain injuries. After his discharge, Henry struggled with the change from military life into civilian life. Henry began using methamphetamine, which he identifies as a coping mechanism. He found a passion for disc golf, and his pursuit of the sport encouraged him to begin recovery. Henry is now in recovery and sober for two years.
Doctors diagnose more than 1 in 10 Veterans with substance use disorders. Veterans Affairs provides substance use treatments for Veterans battling substance use problems. VA offers medication options, counseling and therapy services, and treatment for related health conditions to substance use.
There’s a significant connection between substance abuse and suicide. Veterans managing substance use disorders are more than twice as likely to die by suicide than other Veterans. Individuals who struggle with substance use disorder are more likely to be depressed, engage in high-risk behaviors, and struggle with social and financial problems. Click the link to learn more about the connection between substance abuse and suicide.
The VA is dedicated to supporting Veterans. VA offers mental health services for Veterans managing PTSD, depression, anxiety, Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and more. Veterans can receive counseling, therapy, and or medication treatment either in person or via the telemental health program.
In case you missed it, previous Season 2 episodes:
Episode 1 | Episode 2| Episode 3