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Find Help for Veterans with Addiction


Find Help for Veterans with Addiction

As a result of their service, people with a military background often develop a resolute mindset. The rigorous physical training and strict mental discipline empower them to operate with confidence, courage, and self-control. With a strong sense of teamwork and commitment, they are dedicated to their squad and to the mission. The strength they cultivate helps them tolerate difficult conditions, endure strenuous situations, and overcome tremendous adversity.

Unfortunately, the stresses of military deployment and the dangers of combat can also predispose military service members to substance use and abuse. In fact, substance use disorders and the co-occurrence of addiction and mental health challenges are quite prevalent in military veterans. But there is help for veterans with addiction if you know where to look, and some programs are geared toward the specialized needs of military vets. Some of the most effective addiction rehab programs for veterans treat both substance use disorders and any underlying mental health issues. By harnessing the military mindset and using it to promote recovery, programs for veterans can use their strengths in a healing capacity.

Understanding the Prevalence of Addiction in Veterans

Readjusting to civilian life post-deployment can present quite a challenge. Whether a veteran has visible battle wounds from their service or not, there may also be invisible scars that manifest as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Combat exposure is one of the common causes of this difficult mental health condition that may cause troubling flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and leave you feeling emotionally numb.

According to the Veteran’s Administration (VA), more than two out of every ten vets seeking treatment for PTSD have co-occurring substance use disorders. This occurs so often because substances are used in an attempt to self-medicate PTSD symptoms—especially in the absence of comprehensive care and treatment. Substance abuse evolves over time and may grow to include prescription and/or street drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Addiction and substance abuse can be detrimental to our physical and mental health. It can isolate us from loved ones, threaten our livelihood, and devastate our finances. In order to effect lasting change and restore quality of life, treatment for substance use disorders must also address the underlying trauma.

How To Get Help for Veterans with Addiction

Because of the prevalence of substance use disorders in military veterans, there are significant resources allocated and specific programs dedicated to the treatment of this vulnerable population. In fact, as the largest integrated health care system in the country, the VA provides a vast network of comprehensive substance abuse and mental health care services. In cooperation with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, many VA centers around the country offer substance abuse treatment programs specifically geared toward the complex needs of military veterans.

When seeking services through the VA, vets are routinely screened for mental health and substance abuse concerns. The continuum of care for addiction includes medically-assisted detox stabilization, inpatient and intensive outpatient care, and aftercare programs for relapse prevention. Outpatient counseling and self-help groups empower veterans to persevere. Couples therapy and family counseling provide support for loved ones, giving them resources to aid in the recovery process.

Treatment That Appeals to the Military Mindset

Programs that are geared to the needs of military vets may utilize milieu therapy. These structured programs (residential or day treatment) are typically provided in a therapeutic community, where veterans take responsibility for themselves and their fellow participants. New arrivals are assigned a mentor right from the start to look out for them and show them the ropes. The positive peer support that is established echos the interdependence and teamwork mentality of a military unit or squad. Scheduled activities intersperse group therapy with physical activity and communal meals. Expectations are consistent and upheld by the group.

The most successful treatment programs for veterans with addiction often appeal to and tap into that military mindset through these special features:

  • Getting help from fellow veterans who have been there and understand the challenges
  • Providing motivation to set attainable goals and help you see them through
  • Reminding you of your capabilities and reinforcing confidence
  • Putting you in touch with your strengths and helping you overcome weaknesses
  • Supporting the body, mind, and spirit to promote healing and growth
  • Working together for the common good and carrying each other when necessary

When seeking help for veterans with addiction, look for programs that take their unique needs into consideration. These specialized programs treat substance abuse disorders and the underlying trauma that may complicate their recovery. In the spirit of teamwork, these programs call on participants to support each other and band together to defeat their common enemy and achieve recovery for all. Through mentoring and community engagement, they activate the strengths inherent in the military mindset and help vets focus their energy to sustain motivation, conquer addiction, and improve their quality of life.

If you are attempting to find help for a veteran with addiction problems, the staff at New Choices Treatment Centers is here to assist. Our addiction medicine specialists, many of us veterans ourselves, can relate to your concerns. We are dedicated to helping you find the best treatment options. Contact us online or by phone at (726) 888-7003 to get answers to your questions.

We accept TRICARE East insurance at New Choices.