Substance Abuse Resources for Veterans
Why is Veteran Substance Abuse so Common?
Drug and alcohol abuse is a national concern, but substance use among the veteran population is epidemic. Alcohol and opioids in particular impact veterans at a staggering rate. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs estimates that 1 in 10 veterans treated at the VA after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan face problems with alcohol or other drugs. There is a strong correlation between substance use disorder (SUD) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans. Approximately 1 in 3 soldiers seeking treatment for SUD have co-occurring PTSD. Binge drinking is a common issue for veterans with PTSD and SUD.
Working Through PTSD & Substance Abuse in Veterans
If you’re currently struggling with PTSD and substance use disorders, reach out for support. If left untreated, PTSD only gets worse. But with the aid of dedicated mental health professionals and counselors, you can overcome your condition and go on to lead a happy, healthy life.
Individual counseling is a safe place to talk about traumatic experiences with the support of a trained professional. Therapists can help establish healthy coping strategies and techniques to stay grounded during difficult memories. Click HERE for additional information from our friends at The Recovery Village.
What is Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol use disorder (AUD), previously called alcohol addiction, occurs when a person excessively drinks on a regular basis. They are unable to control their alcohol use.
Someone with an AUD also experiences physical alcohol dependence. Severe withdrawal symptoms will develop if they suddenly stop drinking.
In some cases, small daily amounts of alcohol offer health benefits. Drinking one glass of red wine each night delivers antioxidants that can help reduce your risk of heart disease. It may also lower bad cholesterol.
When alcohol consumption exceeds moderate amounts and begins to take over your life, it no longer offers these health benefits. Over time, excessive alcohol consumption often leads to an alcohol use disorder (alcohol addiction).
Click HERE if you would like information on treatment options for AUD. This helpful information is provided by our friends at AlcoholRehabHelp.org.
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected people's mental health resulting in a huge increase in substance abuse. In June, the CDC reported that 40% of adults admitted to struggling with substance abuse or mental health.
The reality that a loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol and fighting an addiction can be a hard one to face. Many families struggle with this news. It can be known for quite some time that a particular family member—a child, a sibling, a spouse or partner, or a parent—has been abusing addictive substances. Or it can be a total surprise that no one saw coming. These “hidden addictions,” as they are called, can seemingly sneak up on loved ones who had not suspected anything at all. Or they could be hiding in plain sight and have finally reached a breaking point where something must be done.
Either way, once this information comes to light, it is time to make a decision about what to do about it. There is no one way to approach how to get a loved one help for addiction, but having a road map helps when navigating the challenges that addiction and substance abuse treatment present.
Click HERE if you or a loved one is in need of help. Our friends at the Delphi Health Group are ready to provide the support you need.
Delphi Behavioral Health Group was formed to take on the mission of treating addiction at its core. We believe that through personalized treatment in intimate settings, we can provide those suffering from substance abuse with the tools to start a journey of long-lasting recovery. No one should have to battle addiction alone. But we know how hard it is to choose a treatment center that’s right for you. That’s why our dedicated staff is committed to helping you find a treatment program that is ideal for your individual needs. We own and operate a wide range of drug and alcohol detox and treatment centers that are centered on personalized treatment.
Click HERE to visit the National Center for PTSD website or get immediate assistance by calling 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
"No matter where you live, PTSD treatment in the Department of Veterans Affairs is available. Each medical center within VA has PTSD specialists who provide treatment for Veterans with PTSD and there are nearly 200 specialized PTSD treatment programs throughout the country."
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Traumatic events can include natural disasters, serious accidents, physical, mental and sexual abuses, war, and combat.2 More than half of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives, and 20% go on to develop PTSD. Traumatic events make people feel threatened, anxious, or frightened. About 8 million people have post-traumatic stress disorder at any given time. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with PTSD. 10% of women develop PTSD in their lifetimes, compared to 4% of men.
Veterans and PTSD
Veteran rates of PTSD continue to increase with the United States military continuing to have a presence in the Middle East. In 2016, a dramatic increase was seen in the number of war veterans seeking help for PTSD. Treatment options continue to be a discussion to care for these Veterans. PTSD extends beyond war and combat, but this population is at higher risk for suffering from PTSD symptoms.
PTSD Risk Factors from Military Service
PTSD symptoms usually begin after a traumatic event, but they can appear much later than the actual event. Causes of PTSD in Veterans can vary. In research published in Clinical Psychological Science, researchers defined three areas of concern in the development of PTSD; severity of combat exposure (life-threatening experiences), pre-war vulnerabilities (childhood physical abuse), and involvement in harming civilians or prisoners.13
PTSD isn’t military-specific, but the problem is focused on war Veterans. These Veterans are at higher risk of suffering PTSD and face barriers in getting treatment, including stigma and discharge from the military.
Finding Help for PTSD
Finding help is imperative when PTSD-like symptoms appear. You are not alone. Over 8 million Americans in any given year experience PTSD symptoms, and resources for support are available.
Numerous telehealth resources are available and can support the journey as you determine a path forward. Local community groups and more extensive programs like Veteran Affairs can also provide guidance and support for recovery from PTSD.
For resources in your state, visit your State’s Department of Mental Health to determine how you can get local help near you.
Take the PTSD online self-test by clicking HERE.
This test is offered by the J. Flowers Health Institute. J. Flowers Health Institute is committed to saving lives and improving wellness by providing clarity, direction, and results through comprehensive diagnostic evaluations and holistic treatment. Find out more by clicking HERE.
Veterans Crisis Line
Click HERE to view the Veterans Crisis Line website.
"The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is available."
Click HERE to access the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
"The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week We're committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness."
Call 1-800-273-8255 for immediate assistance.
Feds Hire Vets
Click HERE to visit the Feds Hire Vets website.
"Federal job opportunities are available across our country and around the world. Planning early is a smart decision. This information (on the website) will help you understand veterans' preference, how Federal jobs are filled, and unique veteran appointing authorities designed to help you find a job."
Family members of Veterans can also find job seeking resources on the Feds Hire Vets website.
"In our vision of the Federal Government as America's model employer of veterans, we recognize that military spouses and veterans families also possess skills and the public service motivation needed in the Federal workplace." - The Council on Veterans Employment
Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment
Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS)
AWS is a condition that occurs within hours or a few days after the brain stops receiving alcohol.
Excessive, long-term alcohol use affects the chemistry in the brain. When you stop drinking, the brain is unable to function correctly. This leads to withdrawal.
The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal vary from person to person. For some, they may be mild and simply uncomfortable.
In more severe cases, symptoms can be life-threatening. Knowing the signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, and when to seek professional help, is essential when you stop drinking.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Support
Click HERE to visit the Veterans Health Administration website for the Support of Alcohol or Drug Misuse.
"Alcohol and drug misuse can lead to serious health, relationship, employment, and legal problems. Problematic alcohol or drug use can also lead to substance use disorders (SUD). Symptoms of SUD include tolerance, the ability to drink or use greater quantities over time, inability to stop drinking or using in spite of negative consequences, and withdrawal, feeling sick when trying to quit drinking or using drugs. Problems with drinking or drug use may occur in response to stress, or in combination with posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, or other medical conditions. Fortunately there are proven methods to help Veterans recover from alcohol or drug misuse, including mutual help groups and other effective treatments."
Alcohol Rehab Guide
Over the last several decades, alcoholism has become a huge concern for military personnel across the United States. Current and former military face an array of challenges – unpredictable deployments, the risk of injury and being away from home. Unfortunately, alcohol is sometimes used as a coping mechanism during these difficult times.
Veterans are also at risk of being diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder. Co-occurring disorders involve a diagnosis of two conditions, substance abuse and a mental health disorder. For example, if a veteran falls victim to alcohol abuse while suffering from anxiety, both conditions must be addressed and treated together. If left untreated, a co-occurring disorder can lead to more serious health complications in the future.
Although millions of veterans are in need of assistance while adjusting to civilian life, many do not receive treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with a drinking problem, there are many recovery options available. Contact one of our treatment specialists to get started on your treatment plan today.
You may also click the following link for additional information: https://www.alcoholrehabguide.org/resources/alcoholism-in-veterans/
There is a growing concern across the country regarding veterans and drug addiction. Luckily, there are treatment facilities with special programs designed to help. Click HERE to locate a treatment specialist.
Treatment for Veterans and Drug Addiction
To civilians, the return home for veterans seems like a joyous time. When many veterans begin to run into issues, it becomes hard for civilians to sympathize. There is a lot more stress in reintegrating than most realize. With what many Veterans have seen, endured, and taken over seas, it isn’t a switch they can just flip. Sometimes, turning to self-medication seems like the easiest, least-burdening way to get better.
If you are, or someone you love is, a Veteran that is having trouble fitting into a life outside of the military due to drug addiction, finding help as quickly as possible can be invaluable. If you don’t know where to start, try reaching out to a dedicated treatment specialist. They are here to answer your questions and help you plan out your next steps toward recovery.
Beach House Rehab Center
A Journey To Wellness
A great proportion of veterans seeking freedom from addiction suffer from a co-occurring disorder — namely, a diagnosable mental illness like anxiety, depression and PTSD. Our treatment center provides dual diagnosis treatment as part of a full continuum of care geared to meet clients’ individualized treatment needs. We offer a comprehensive rehab experience and strive to be known nationwide as a leading model for clinical excellence.
Click HERE for a dual diagnosis treatment guide, a resource that can help veterans affected by addiction and mental health disorders learn more about the rehab process and gain the confidence to commit to this journey to wellness!
CBD for PTSD
Various forms of psychotherapy, often combined with medications like SSRIs, are the primary form of treatment for PTSD. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that cannabinoids (CBD) may also be helpful in treating PTSD, particularly the anxiety and sleep-related symptoms of the disorder.
A leading health concern that our veterans face is the treatment for chronic pain leading to opioid addiction. As you may know, record-high prescribing rates among veterans has led to increases in overdose deaths – veterans are now twice as likely to overdose from Opioids as non-veterans.
Opioid Help is an information hub that contains up-to-date news regarding the opioid epidemic as well as vital resources for those currently struggling from addiction to help them recover.
Get more info here: https://www.opioidhelp.com/epidemic/veterans-opioid-addiction/
DrugRehab.com provides information, resources, and treatment for people battling addiction and related conditions.
At DrugRehab.com, their mission is to equip patients and families with the best information, resources and tools to overcome addiction and pursue lifelong recovery. They stand ready to help you or your loved one every step of the way.
DrugRehab.com is changing lives through addiction care and education. Click HERE for more information.
PTSD and Sleep
Sleep problems are a common issue for people of all ages, but anyone diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder is more likely to experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Sleep disturbances and nightmares are common symptoms of PTSD, and these symptoms may even exacerbate other PTSD symptoms and make treatment more difficult.
Click HERE for more information and to see what you can do if you have problems with sleep.
Thank you Ava for providing this information!
Veterans and Addiction
Why Veterans Turn to Drugs and Alcohol
Many men and women who are serving or have served in the United States military struggle with addiction.
Veterans who have seen combat may have co-occurring disorders, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, in addition to an addiction.
Traumatic events such as combat exposure and multiple deployments can trigger drug or alcohol use, which all too often lead to addiction.
If a veteran you love is struggling with a drug or alcohol use problem, contact a rehab professional for help finding the right treatment program.
Click HERE for more information.
Here is an incredible list of resources from our good friends at depolycare.org.
DeployCare was established to offer understanding and support to service members and their families before, during, and after deployments. They have worked to compile necessary resources as well as research solutions to many of the challenges associated with military deployments.
Their team is composed of veterans and spouses who have experienced many of the issues that arise when there is not adequate support when needed. They are mothers, fathers, husbands, and wives. They know that the effects of deployments do not end when your loved one finally gets to come home.
Veterans | 211.org http://www.211.org/services/veterans
My Next Move for Veterans (Career Resources) https://www.mynextmove.org/vets/
How to Use a Relocation Calculator https://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-use-relocation-calculator.htm
Moving Services That Offer Military Discounts https://www.moving.com/tips/these-moving-services-offer-fantastic-military-discounts/
VA Home Loan Calculator https://www.mortgagecalculator.org/calcs/va-loans.php
VA Mortgage Loan Document Checklist https://www.militaryvaloan.com/checklist.htm
What Documents Do I Need to Sell My House? https://www.redfin.com/resources/documents-to-sell-a-house
Family Services and Resources Near You http://veteranscominghome.org/family-resources/
Military Buddy Finder https://www.vetfriends.com/
Community Events and Other Ways to Gather Veterans' Narratives https://www.loc.gov/vets/Communityevents.html
Military Discounts Offered by Stores, Services and Online Sites https://militarybenefits.info/military-discounts/
Military Discounts through Verizon https://www.verizonwireless.com/discounts/military/
Mental Health Resources | Veterans Families United https://veteransfamiliesunited.org/mental-health-resources/
The Veteran’s Guide to Creating a Peaceful At-Home Atmosphere After Returning Home https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/veterans-guide-to-creating-a-peaceful-home/
Nursing Home Abuse Center
Military veterans are an especially at-risk group for abuse and mistreatment in nursing homes. An often-neglected group, veterans, after serving their country, are commonly left without sufficient support systems, friends & family networks, and mental and physical health care services. The Nursing Home Abuse Center can help.
Click HERE for more information.
Veteran Resume Guide
Switching careers takes courage. And veterans know a thing or two about courage. But when military personnel finish serving their country and look to re-enter civilian life, they need more than just strong nerves to make the transition to a new career. Finding a job demands practical strategies. For veterans, the struggle is often aligning the skills and experiences they’ve gained in the military with the types of jobs that exist outside the military. On top of that, long-serving veterans don’t have a lot of experience with resume making.
Click HERE for a guide that can help those that served in the armed forces create resumes as they seek out civilian positions.
Silent Professionals - Job Placement
Silentprofessionals.org assists military and law enforcement Veterans in finding jobs based on their experience. Their small, experienced team has direct pipelines to a wide range of jobs available within the defense and private security industry as well as unique corporate security job opportunities. They also frequently have jobs that pop up for immediate fill all around the world. Besides the fact that job seekers never pay to apply for jobs, we personally vet each job and each candidate and match the right person for the right job at the right time. We talk directly to the decision-makers who make the call on hiring and they lean on our team to advise them. If you’re a job seeker, register as a candidate in their system. If you’re a company searching for highly dedicated and disciplined professionals, then they are available to help you connect with the very best.
What Veterans Should Know About Sleep
Veterans may face unique sleep challenges due to the nature of their training and their time in the service, whether or not they saw combat. Transitioning from military life to civilian living comes with a host of challenges, and sleep problems are quite common in veterans of all ages. Click HERE for an article that will cover what we know about veterans and sleep issues, including common sleep problems veterans suffer from and why. It will also explain the connections between PTSD and sleep problems, explain the consequences of sleep deprivation in veterans, and offer tips for veterans to get better sleep along with further resources.
Grief is a reactionary feeling of sadness experienced following any major loss. It is often associated with suffering, and is also considered a necessary process of deliverance termed resilience. When an event causes a crisis in the life of an individual, a radical change is made in the situation established until then. To get more information on grief and learn ways to cope with grief click HERE for more information.
Personal Loans for Veterans
When you need funds, a personal loan is often a good option because of the flexibility and affordability of this kind of financing. You can use a personal loan for just about anything, including home improvement, debt consolidation, emergency funding, and more.
Click HERE to look at the best personal loans for veterans who have good, fair, and bad credit to help you find a financing option that’s right for you.
2020 Guide to Substance Abuse in Veterans
Our friends at 449 Recovery have created a very useful 2020 Guide to Substance Abuse in Veterans. According to an article in the journal Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, an estimated 11 percent of people seeking first-time care in the Veterans Administration health system report having a substance abuse disorder. The Veterans Administration has determined that men are more likely than women to experience a substance abuse disorder. The other group with higher rates of substance abuse was veterans aged 25 or under. Click HERE to view the full guide.
Mesothelioma Veterans Center
The Mesothelioma Veterans Center provides information about treatment, clinical trials, and VA benefits to veterans suffering from asbestos-related illnesses. They have had the honor of helping hundreds of veterans pursue compensation after developing mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer from their asbestos exposure in the military. They also provide a plethora of helpful information on their site including information regarding Veterans and addiction risks which can be viewed by clicking HERE.
Click HERE for more information on Mesothelioma and how the Mesothelioma Veterans Center can help.
Alcohol Effects, Addiction Treatment, and Resources
The Addiction Group provides great information and resources to help those that may be battling with alcohol addiction, a common problem for many Veterans. If you would like more information you can visit their site by clicking HERE.
If you or someone you know suffers from alcohol use disorder (AUD), you are not alone. There are treatment centers around the nation ready to help you. Learn about all of the different aspects of alcohol addiction treatment.
Alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a complicated and dangerous health disorder. Here are some resources that will answer your questions.
What is Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)?
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is also commonly referred to as alcoholism or alcohol addiction. It affects millions of Americans and has many adverse effects on your physical and mental health. According to the CDC, there are three traits of AUD. Learn about them here.
Alcohol use disorder can be mild, moderate, or severe. It affects everyone differently. A study undertaken by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) identified five different types of alcoholics.
The symptoms of AUD range in intensity, from mild to severe. They can have a profoundly negative impact on your physical, mental, emotional, and interpersonal health. Learn how to identify the symptoms of AUD here.
Many different factors can influence your susceptibility to alcohol use disorder (AUD). These include genetic, psychological, social, and environmental situations. Learn more about the causes of alcohol addiction here.
Binge drinking is considered an alcohol use disorder (AUD). It is characterized by a pattern of heavy alcohol use. Binge drinking is common in the U.S. and poses severe short and long term health risks.
A high functioning alcoholic, functional alcoholic, or working alcoholic is someone who meets the criteria for having an alcohol use disorder but is still capable of meeting the requirements of their work and social life.
Looking For Signs of Substance Abuse
If someone you love uses one of these drugs, it’s helpful to know the signs of shooting up and the dangers of addiction.
First Sign of Substance Abuse: Highs and Lows
A common sign that someone you know uses IV drugs is when that person experiences frequent highs and lows. You can think of this in the same you would the crash associated with caffeine or sugar. When you drink several cups of coffee or bottles of soda a day, the sugar and caffeine can leave you feeling wiry and jittery. Once those substances leave your system, though, you’ll feel a crushing sensation that might make you feel tired and worn out.
IV drugs can result in feeling and acting the same way through highs and lows. Some prefer injecting drugs to smoking or snorting substances because injecting produces a faster reaction. As the drugs go directly into the bloodstream, the substances effects are felt much faster. This method can also produce a faster crash period because as the drugs leave, the pleasurable symptoms dissipate quickly too. Some of the signs you might notice during the crash period, also known as the cooling period, include:
- Trouble concentrating or thinking
- Issues with making decisions
- Head nodding
- Falling asleep in any spot or position
Mental Health Self Test
Mental Health In The U.S.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated one in five people in the United States live with mental illness.1 This equals an estimated 46.6 million people in 2017. Mental illness ranges in types and severity. Doctors usually classify mental illnesses as serious mental illness or any mental illness. The following is a report of how often a person experiences mental illness by illness type, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness:2
Anxiety disorder: 19.1% (48 million people)
Bipolar disorder: 2.8% (7 million people)
Borderline personality disorder: 1.4% (3.5 million people)
Major depressive episode: 7.2% (17.7 million people)
Obsessive compulsive disorder: 1.2% (3 million people)
Post-traumatic stress disorder: 3.6% (9 million people)
Schizophrenia: less than 1% (1.5 million people)
Click HERE to take a mental health self test and to view much more information on mental health and addiction from our friends at the Sanctuary of Transformation.
Veterans and Sleep Challenges
Veterans may face unique sleep challenges due to the nature of their training and their time in the service, whether or not they saw combat. Transitioning from military life to civilian living comes with a host of challenges, and sleep problems are quite common in veterans of all ages.
The National Veteran Sleep Survey, which was published in 2012, interviewed 2,866 veterans aged 18 to 96 about their sleep habits. The data suggested that veterans are severely sleep-deprived.
The average respondent got just 5.6 hours of sleep nightly, compared to the national average of 6.7 hours. (Both of those averages are below the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night.) Additionally, 91% of the veterans surveyed reported that they often felt fatigued, tired, or sleepy during the day. When asked why they didn’t get enough sleep, 70% said they had trouble falling or staying asleep at night.
The takeaway here is that if someone is veteran who struggles to obtain high-quality sleep on a regular basis, they are not alone.
What is Inpatient Treatment?
Inpatient programs offer the most intensive addiction treatment services. Patients live at the treatment facility and receive medical care and therapy. They also attend support groups.
Inpatient treatment centers provide mental health services for people with dual diagnoses. This is when someone suffers from a substance use disorder (SUD) and a mental health condition.
Short-Term vs. Long-Term Inpatient Treatment
Inpatient treatment is available on a long- or short-term basis. Short-term inpatient treatment is an intense but brief program based on a modified 12-step approach.
Residential treatment models may include a three to six-week hospital-based inpatient treatment phase. This is followed by extended outpatient therapy. Aftercare often includes participation in a group program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
Long-term in-patient treatment programs take place at a residential facility. They provide round-the-clock care, generally in non-hospital settings.
Click HERE for more information on inpatient facilities.