Why Choose a Specialized Addiction Treatment Program for Veterans?
Veterans of the United States armed forces are disproportionately susceptible to suffering from substance use or alcohol use disorder (SUD/AUD). While addiction is a very serious chronic condition, it is treatable. Research shows that individualized care—like specialized treatment tracks—is most effective at treating addiction.
Why Do So Many Veterans Struggle with Addiction?
There are a few different reasons why addiction is so prevalent among veterans. One of which is the increased likelihood of experiencing trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a very common co-occurring disorder associated with substance misuse.
Benzodiazepines (like Xanax) are sometimes prescribed to treat anxiety, can cause a strong physical dependency. People that try to quit benzos after using them for a prolonged period time often experience withdrawal. This may cause someone to continue taking these drugs just to relieve withdrawal symptoms.
Sometimes a traumatic experience can also lead to depression, which is also a common precursor to SUD or AUD. Sadly, suicide is also exceedingly common among military veterans—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between 18 and 22 veterans commit suicide every day in the United States.
Sustaining a serious injury is another hazard of being in the military. Often, people are prescribed opioids to treat pain, which someone can easily become physically dependent on and addicted to.
Another aspect of life in and after the military that can contribute to addiction is the culture surrounding drinking. While illicit drug use can cause an immediate dishonorable discharge for active service members, binge drinking is heavily ingrained in military culture, especially among members with combat exposure. Habits developed during service often carry on into civilian life.
Addiction Treatment for Veterans
Rehabilitation and post-treatment recovery often work best when someone is surrounded by peers with similar shared experiences that allows them to relate and empathize with each other. Furthermore, the specialized treatment program for veterans and first responders at Greenhouse prioritizes the following criteria and more:
- Management of post-traumatic stress responses.
- Dealing with grief and loss.
- Management of chronic pain.
- Recognition and treatment of cognitive distortions (i.e., irrational thoughts that cause negative feelings).
- Learning to build healthy relationships and seek support from others.
The Greenhouse program for veterans and first responders also facilitates entry into aftercare programs so that alumni can stay connected and focused on recovery after treatment ends.
It is also vital that anyone undergoing addiction rehab receives treatment for any co-occurring disorders they may have. Research shows that treatment is much more successful when it takes a comprehensive approach rather than treating different disorders separately.
Addiction can be a devastating illness but it’s not too late to get help. With the proper treatment, many people are able to lead fulfilling lives in recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, consider reaching out to an admissions navigator at .