Monday, May 27, 2024

Help For Veterans With Drug Addiction

Pros And Cons Of Inpatient Rehab

Veterans dealing with substance abuse have a new place to go for help

There are advantages and drawbacks to receiving inpatient rehab depending on your situation. Here are some pros and cons to consider for this type of program.

Advantages of choosing inpatient rehab:5

  • Safe, sober environment.
  • Approved leave of absence .
  • May be eligible for Family Medical Leave Act benefits from an employer.

Disadvantages of choosing inpatient rehab:5, 6

  • Must take time off from work or school .
  • Must have reliable childcare 24/7 if youre a parent.
  • Inpatient length of stay may be extended.
  • Unable to go home during treatment.
  • Amenities may be limited .
  • Limited family visitation.
  • Cost of treatment.

How Common Is Ptsd Among Veterans

While nearly anyone can suffer from PTSD, veterans are more likely to develop the condition than the general population. Military life exposes soldiers to frequent deadly and thus potentially traumatic situations, leaving them at an increased risk of physical injury and the invisible wounds of PTSD. Military sexual assault also contributes to high veteran PTSD rates, particularly in female members. Twenty three out of every 100 women who use VA care experienced a sexual assault while in the military.

These numbers may seem staggering, but theyre likely a misrepresentation of the true numbers. PTSD has been a disorder of silence until recent years. Prior generations of military veterans viewed PTSD as a failure of character or a manifestation of inner weakness rather than one of the countless tragic, human consequences of war. Because some guilt and shame surrounding the condition still exists, many instances of PTSD and other mental health conditions go unreported. Perhaps this is why a new study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs revealed that roughly 20 veterans commit suicide every day in the United States. About 70% of these individuals were not regular users of VA services, which include mental health care and counseling that are known to improve PTSD symptoms.

What Is Samhsa’s National Helpline

SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

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Who Needs Drug Rehab

If you’re struggling with a drug problem, you’ve may have tried to quit with no success. There’s also a good chance that you’ve come to the realization that you may need a more structured drug rehab in order to do so. But not everyone who uses …

drug rehab, onVeteransdrug RehabDrugDrug

Encouraging Professional Help And Support Groups

Double Whammy: Substance Abuse and PTSD

The need for professional help for female Veterans battling substance use or addiction is examined in this section. Also highlighted are the positive effects of support groups and information on co-occurring disorders, and the potential risk factors and causes that may increase the risk of addiction.

Encourage your loved one to seek professional treatment. DrugFree.org concludes that once you start talking with your loved one about treatment, you may find that they didnt even realize that their misuse of drugs or alcohol was causing problems or even recognized by those around them.

There are some important details to remember when encouraging your loved one:

  • Avoid having serious discussions about her addiction when you or she are under the influence
  • Be sure to protect yourself as well as those around you from physical harm
  • If violence occurs, contact the police and/or emergency medical services if needed
  • Set appropriate limits to protect your home, your finances, and your relationships stick to them, even when its difficult

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Attend A Medical Drug Detox

The first tangible step toward getting drug addiction help often involves detoxification, or detox. Detox involves the bodys natural process of removing toxins, which, in this case, refers to those left by drugs.

Unfortunately, undergoing detox typically means dealing with unpleasant withdrawal symptoms as well. Once someone has taken drugs long enough to develop an addiction, their body is often physically reliant on them. Therefore, when they stop taking the drugs, the body cannot function properly. It takes it time to re-learn how to function on its own, hence the triggering of withdrawal symptoms.

To make it easier to cope with unpleasant symptoms like sweating, dizziness, and nausea, Heroes Mile offers a medical detox program for veterans. This approach helps individuals detox from alcohol or drugs by pairing them with a team of licensed doctors, nurses, and addiction experts. With 24/7 monitoring and support, the discomforts associated with detox can be successfully minimized. Moreover, the first step to getting drug addiction help can pass as smoothly as possible.

Sometimes, however, detoxing from drugs can carry the risk of more dangerous symptoms like seizures or psychosis. Medical detox dramatically decreases the threats posed by these symptoms as well. Due to the presence of a trained team, any sign of a threat to a patients health is dealt with swiftly and effectively.

Active Military Members And Substance Abuse

In the active-duty military substance abuse occurs, but with different dynamics. The actual numbers of military members living with a substance use disorder could be more than reported. Currently, reports indicate that 5.4% of all military personnel are heavy drinkers while 1% across all branches are currently abusing illicit drugs. Approximately 4% of active-duty service members reported misusing one or more prescription drug types.2

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Reasons For Substance Abuse In Veterans

Tobacco, alcohol, and prescription drug abuse are common among veterans. Fortunately, abuse of illicit drugs is less prevalent among veterans compared to the general civilian population. Here are some of the most common reasons why veterans are at increased risk of addiction.

Combat Stress: One of the main reasons that veterans often suffer from addictions is the stress of deployment in combat zones overseas. Serving in a war-ravaged region involves being away from home for prolonged periods in challenging environments. Also, loneliness and fatigue as a result of deployment put veterans at risk of substance abuse as a coping mechanism.

Military Culture: The strict discipline and zero-tolerance policies in the military as well as a lack of confidentiality and mandatory drug tests have created a substantial stigma around substance abuse in military culture. As a result, many active-duty service members and veterans are hesitant to seek addiction treatment. For example, surveys have shown that half of all military personnel believe that seeking treatment for mental health disorders will negatively impact their career.

Finding Veterans Addiction Help In 3 Steps

Recovery Help at VA for Substance Use Disorder

Veterans in need of rehab have more options than the VA. If you are struggling with mental health and substance use or know someone who is finding veterans addiction help doesnt have to mean just going to your local hospital. Here are three steps to finding addiction treatment for veterans that you might not know.

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Find Mental Health Information

Learn the warning signs of a mental health problem and how to talk about these issues with others.

How Veterans Benefits Help Veterans With Addictions

Fortunately, as more research is conducted and the awareness of the mental health stress of veterans continues to grow, more resources are made available to those living with addiction and co-occurring disorders like PTSD. While there is still a ways to go, there are support structures in place for veterans seeking help.

Eligible veterans may receive addiction treatment through the Veterans Alcohol and Drug Dependence Rehabilitation Program, which is managed by the Veterans Health Administration and provides a number of treatment options, including therapy and medication-assisted treatment. However, this route may not be suitable for everyone.

To be eligible for the Veterans Alcohol and Drug Dependence Rehabilitation Program, a veteran must qualify or be enrolled in the VA health care system. In most cases, to receive VA benefits and services, including rehab services, the veterans discharge must not be under dishonorable conditions. Our counselors at FHE Health will work with any veteran, regardless of their circumstances, to help them navigate the path to quality care.

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Risk Factors In Veterans With Drug Addiction

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Ptsd And Its Correlation To Veteran Addiction

Prescription Drugs Push Addiction For Veterans Suffering Trauma

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is just one of the many mental health concerns that service members can be plagued with upon returning from war. It is by far one of the most prevalent issues in the veteran community today, with increasing numbers of soldiers suffering from this condition.

PTSD is a condition that develops after a person has witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. PTSD can affect anyone, whether they are military personnel or civilian. However, given the nature of war and the situations that our soldiers experience during active duty, it is no wonder that there is a higher rate of PTSD cases amongst veterans.

Someone who has PTSD may find that they are unable to sleep due to nightmares, may be on edge in certain situations, and may have simple, everyday things trigger their condition . PTSD sufferers may also feel like they are anxious, irritable, and easily angered. These feelings can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns as well.

It is common for veterans returning home from active duty to want to escape the feeling of constantly being on edge. After all, they risked their lives for our country, so shouldnt they be allowed to return home without the fear they once held while away on duty? Unfortunately, yet understandably, many of our nations veterans turn to alcohol or drugs to quiet these issues. If left untreated, these symptoms and their self-medication can lead to an even larger problem of addiction.

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Treatment Options For Veterans Living With Substance Use Disorders

Substance abuse and mental health disorders are a concern in the military and not only affect the professional lives of our service members but also their personal lives. Treatment is crucial to the support of our veterans looking to improve their lives. VA resources are available with various treatments for veterans across the United States.

Veterans Mental Health & Addiction

As touched on above, veterans often struggle with mental health problems beyond the presence of a substance use disorder. Among veterans with PTSD, more than 2 in 10 also have a SUD. The rate of smoking nicotine products is also about double among veterans with PTSD.

The reasons veterans often struggle with mental health are complex. Broadly, life while in military service is often difficult and very different compared to civilian life.

The chances that a person is exposed to significant trauma, such as witnessing a death or experiencing sexual violence, is much higher while in the military.

An individual may go for long periods in an unfamiliar place with no real release mechanism if they notice theyre in poor mental health. Military service can have a rigid structure to it, and leaving ones post early is often not possible.

Addiction is often the result of unhealthy coping mechanisms used to try and escape struggles with other mental health problems. Drugs can provide a temporary relief from anxiety and help a person forget about trauma theyve experienced for short periods.

Unfortunately, this is not a sustainable solution for several reasons. A person may become addicted to the substances theyre relying on and must now contend with another mental health issue in addition to their previous problems.

Also Check: American Association Of Addiction Medicine

Veterans And Substance Use

Some veterans also struggle with drug or alcohol use in different degrees of severity. These rates of use and addiction may result from a variety of factors but can lead to costly consequences without treatment.

In some cases, veteran substance use is connected to poor mental health. One study of Vietnam veterans found that of those with PTSD, 74% also had a substance use disorder. As veterans struggle to get the treatment they need for their mental health, they may turn to unhealthy coping methods like drinking or drug use. While these substances can help veterans self-medicate, they ultimately tend to make symptoms worse and may lead to a substance use disorder. At Vertava Health, our veterans addiction treatment center in Massachusetts can address these struggles and concerns to promote lasting sobriety.

Substance use among veterans may also be a result of physical health challenges. Because of the dangerous and physically demanding nature of serving, some veterans may get injured during combat or struggle with chronic pain. While an effective way to treat this pain, prescription opioids can also be addictive if misused. Our opioid addiction treatment in Massachusetts will help veterans learn new ways of dealing with pain without relying on these medications.

Factors That Influence And Encourage Substance Abuse

Barriers for Veterans Seeking Addiction Treatment: Seeking Help

Combat and stressful experiences can cause significant difficulties for veterans, and sometimes they cope with those difficulties by using drugs or alcohol. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is heavily linked with substance abuse.

Other factors like current living situation can influence decisions about using drugs. One study found that when veterans lived with a partner who struggled with alcohol or drug abuse, those veterans were much more likely to use drugs than others who had PTSD and depression.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and substance abuse are linked

60-80%

of veterans with PTSD also have a substance abuse problem

In one study, 60-80% of veteran patients with PTSD also had substance abuse issues. Some veterans self-medicate using drugs and alcohol to deal with the flashbacks and other PTSD symptoms, but drug abuse can worsen the symptoms.

Homeless veterans are likely to abuse substances

70%

of homeless veterans struggle with substance abuse

Almost 70% of homeless veterans have experienced substance abuse issues. Some researchers believe that the negative view of homelessness contributes to increased substance abuse, and substance abuse then makes it harder for the veteran to hold a steady job.

Chronic pain is often linked to substance abuse issues

33%

of veterans in treatment for substance abuse experience chronic pain

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Florida Department Of Veterans Affairs

The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs is a Veterans touchpoint for understanding many of the benefits that are available to retired military service members in the state. With locations throughout Florida, they can help you understand your health benefits and direct you to necessary services.

They also run a Florida Veterans Support Line which can be reached at 1-844-MyFLVet or 211.

Practical Ways To Help A Veteran With Drug Or Alcohol Addiction

Addiction is never an easy battle. However, it can be even more of a challenge with veterans because of their experiences while in the military. Similarly, family and friends struggle with finding ways to help their loved ones trapped in the addictive cycle. Some may be unsure of how to even address addiction, whether it be to alcohol or drugs.

Thankfully, there are many subtle things that can make a world of difference. You dont always have to look for big changes. The little things count as well. Below are some ideas on how to approach the situation and generate a more fruitful experience.

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Rehab For Veterans: How Veterans Struggling With Addiction Can Get Help

As technology advances and our military becomes more intelligent, the face of war has changed in our world. Yet the toll that combat can take on those serving in our military is still a growing problem.

Many of our nations bravest have come home from foreign lands where they were dealing with unknown dangers and putting their life on the line on a daily basis. Some of the memories they bring home with them are horrific in nature and can cause many issues if left untreated.

Among the most prevalent of these concerns are physical pain from injuries and mental illnesses such as PTSD. Over time, many of these brave men and women who fought for our freedom find themselves fighting for freedom from alcohol and substance abuse.

If you or a loved one are a veteran who has returned home only to find yourself fighting this new battle against substance abuse, you are not alone. There is help available to you right now.

There are an estimated 23.4 million veterans in the United States today and an additional 2.2 million active military service members, as well as 3.1 million immediate family members. According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there were approximately 1.5 million veterans who had a substance use disorder in 2014.

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