What is Addiction Treatment Like for Veterans in Texas?
For many veterans serving in the military, the return to civilian life can be full of both joys and challenges. Getting back into a “normal” routine while shouldering the weight of your years of service can be difficult.
Veterans are among the bravest people in our country and contribute so much to many aspects of society. However, veterans face an increased risk of developing a substance use disorder or addiction, and many will require treatment to overcome these conditions.
This article will explore the connection between being a veteran and the risk of a substance use disorder, as well as how to seek addiction treatment and what to expect. Reach out to the Alamo Behavioral Health specialists to learn more about our comprehensive addiction treatment programs for veterans in Texas or to find support at any stage of addiction recovery.
Why Are Veterans at Increased Risk for Substance Abuse?
Our nation’s veterans face unique challenges when transitioning from active duty into civilian life. While the return to a regular daily routine can be challenging in and of itself, many veterans return from service with mental and physical challenges related to their time in the military.
Understanding the unique challenges and barriers veterans face can help us understand how to better treat substance use disorders and addiction in our country’s bravest citizens. Here are some factors that can increase a veteran’s likelihood of developing a substance use disorder or drug and alcohol addiction.
Military members are often exposed to life-threatening situations, chronic stress, and other challenges that can have a lasting impact on their mental health. Many veterans struggle with their mental health even after returning home and settling into a routine. Some of the most common mental health conditions veterans face include:
- Chronic stress
- Trauma from combat or assault
Some veterans return home with traumatic brain injuries that significantly impact their mental and physical health for the rest of their lives. Some people may turn to drugs and alcohol to dull their emotional and physical pain after returning home from military service. When someone uses substances to manage emotional or physical pain, it is called self-medication.
Relying on drugs or alcohol to help you cope with emotional pain or manage the symptoms of a mental illness can quickly spiral into a life-threatening addiction that requires comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment.
When a person experiences a stressor that exceeds their ability to cope, they may carry the effects of that experience for many months or years as trauma. When someone has intense, lingering effects of trauma after facing a stressor, they may meet the criteria for a condition called post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
Some of the symptoms of PTSD include:
- Being easily startled
- Feeling “on-guard” all the time
- Unwanted, distressing memories about the event
- Reliving the event as if it were happening again
- Extreme emotional distress when reminded of the event
- Avoiding people, places, and things that remind you of the event
- Negative thoughts and feelings about yourself, others, or the world
- Relationship difficulties
- Loss of enjoyment in things you used to enjoy
- Emotional numbness
Veterans face many significant, sometimes chronic, stressors that can leave them with the effects of trauma for the rest of their lives. If a veteran does not get treatment for their trauma, they may turn to drugs and alcohol for relief, putting them at increased risk for developing a substance use disorder or addiction.
Well over half– about 66%– of veterans report experiencing pain, and nearly one in 10 of these reports chronic or severe pain. Common forms of pain in veterans include:
- Joint pain
- Back pain
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle pain
Military service, including training and combat, can be physically demanding and may result in injuries and chronic pain. Veterans might take opioids and other addictive painkillers, or they may rely on drugs and alcohol to help them dull pain so they can function.
Addiction Treatment for Veterans in Texas
All people with substance abuse and addiction deserve compassionate, high-quality treatment programs. Veterans often have specific, unique needs and require specialized support during rehab to address the underlying roots of their substance use.
Typically, substance abuse treatment programs in Texas provide evidence-based and holistic treatments that help people understand and overcome the complex aspects of their substance abuse. Addiction treatment for veterans can provide specific treatments proven effective to help people with trauma, physical pain, mental illness, and other concerns that are common among military members.
An addiction treatment program for veterans may include:
- Medically-supported detox programs
- Individual therapy for trauma, grief, and PTSD
- Group support
- Family therapy
- Relapse prevention education
- Exercise, nutrition support, mindfulness training, and other holistic practices
- Mental health care
Veterans also require ongoing support after leaving rehab. Many veteran addiction treatment programs in Texas focus on assisting people in making an aftercare plan that includes community support and continued mental health care.
Find Addiction Treatment for Veterans in Texas Now
If you or a veteran you love needs help overcoming a substance use disorder or addiction, contact the Alamo Behavioral Health Specialists to learn about our comprehensive treatment programs.
Veterans are vital to our communities and our nation. Our high-quality treatment programs in Texas can help veterans find the support and care they deserve so they can live healthy, fulfilling lives with dignity.