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Alcohol and Drug Rehab for Veterans

What is it?

Alcohol and drug rehab for veterans

Veterans and active military service members are at a higher risk than civilians for drug and alcohol addiction, especially those who have been in combat.

Combat today is not like it was 40 or 50 years ago, according to the National Veterans Foundation. The new war on terror takes its toll on military service men and women, who must contend with increasingly deadly weapons of war and highly stressful situations.


Substance abuse among veterans

Prescription drug and alcohol abuse among veterans are growing problems. Prescription drug abuse, especially, is on the rise. Veterans are commonly prescribed opioid medications for physical injuries or chronic pain. What starts as normal prescribed use can quickly evolve into abuse and addiction.

Opioids are one of the most addictive prescription drugs, and they’re being prescribed to vets at increasing rates:

  • From 2001 to 2009, alone, the prescription rate jumped from 17% to 24% for veterans receiving care in the VA health care system.
  • From 2003 to 2007, the rate of chronic opioid use among young veterans increased from 3% to 4.5%.
  • Most of these prescriptions were for oxycodone (46.9%), hydrocodone (39.5%), and codeine (6.8%).

Vets with mental health disorders like PTSD are more likely to be prescribed these powerful drugs. And they’re more likely to simultaneously take tranquilizers or sleeping pills, medically known as “sedative hypnotic” drugs. Vets with mental health disorders are also more likely to develop an opioid use disorder and experience accidents and overdoses.


The link between PTSD and substance abuse in veterans

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that starts after a traumatic event or series of events, like the ones many military members experience.

Symptoms of PTSD can include nightmares, intrusive thoughts, unwanted memories of the trauma, avoidance of situations that trigger negative thoughts, hyper-reactivity, anxiety and depressed mood.

Co-occurring substance use and PTSD in military veterans is common.

  • Approximately two of 10 veterans with PTSD also have a substance-use disorder.
  • Nearly one in three veterans who seeks treatment for a substance use disorder also has PTSD.
  • It’s common for war veterans with PTSD and alcohol problems to binge drink.


Addiction treatment options for veterans

The good news is that, today, we know more about the mental health consequences of war and combat. Consequently, treatment for co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders has improved greatly.

Veterans can choose between private and military-sponsored programs.


Government addiction treatment programs

The VA provides former members of the U.S. Armed Forces with a range of outpatient and inpatient treatment options through VA hospitals.

TRICARE is the government healthcare program for service members and their families. It covers medically necessary treatment for substance use disorders. This may include inpatient services, intensive outpatient programs, detoxification, medication-assisted treatment, mental health therapeutic services, opioid treatment, partial hospitalization programs, and residential treatment. The length of time covered for each program varies. Contact your local VA center for more information.

Not all veterans may want to use the VA for substance abuse treatment. Wait times can be extensive at some VA locations, and in rural areas vets may have even fewer options. In cases where there is no VA facility within a reasonable distance of a vet’s home, the government may cover care by a private addiction treatment provider.


Private addiction treatment

BriteLife Recovery offers completely confidential substance use and mental health treatment for military veterans. Our clinical staff has thoughtfully designed a treatment program for military service members.

If you or someone you love is a veteran suffering with a drug or alcohol addiction, we’re here to help. Reclaim your life today. Get confidential help 24/7 by calling 201.464.4040. Our addiction treatment center for veterans is ready to answer your questions.

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