An estimated 11% of veterans are diagnosed with a substance use disorder. Veterans tend to suffer high rates of substance abuse and mental illness due to factors such as exposure to violence, war, and combat. Drug rehab treatment is available for veterans who need help recovering from substance use disorders.
Facts About Veterans and Substance Abuse
- Alcohol use disorder affects 10.5% of male veterans and 4.8% of female veterans, according to the journal Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation.
- Drug use disorders affect 4.8% of male veterans and 2.4% of female veterans.
- Alcohol use disorder is the most prevalent substance use disorder among military personnel and veterans.
- An estimated 56.6% of veterans report using alcohol during the past month, while 7.5% report heavy use of alcohol during the past month.
- The percentage of veterans who receive opioid prescriptions increased from 17 to 24% from 2001 to 2009.
- Nearly 47% of opioid painkillers used by veterans are oxycodone, while 39.5% are hydrocodone.
- Roughly 11.7% of veterans who are diagnosed with PTSD receive opioid prescriptions, while the percentage is only 6.5% for those without PTSD or another mental illness.
- Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug among veterans, with 3.5% reporting using marijuana during the past month.
The Link Between Veterans, PTSD, and Substance Abuse
Veterans who have substance use disorders are commonly diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and PTSD, according to the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that more than two in every 10 veterans with PTSD also have a substance use disorder, and that nearly one in every three veterans who seek treatment for substance use disorder also has PTSD.
PTSD is a mental health disorder veterans may develop after witnessing or experiencing traumatic events such as combat or violent accidents. PTSD is characterized by symptoms including flashbacks, anxiety, and nightmares that can last for months and years when this condition goes untreated. Some veterans try to cope with PTSD and its symptoms by abusing drugs and alcohol, which makes symptoms worse. Veterans who suffer from both substance abuse and PTSD can be treated at drug and alcohol rehab centers with dual diagnosis treatment.
What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Veterans?
Treatment for a dual diagnosis, also known as co-occurring disorders, addresses both the mental health disorder and substance use disorder. Treating just one of these conditions can prevent the patient from experiencing a full, healthy recovery. For instance, treating just PTSD alone can lead to continued drug abuse and worsened mental health, while treating just the substance use disorder can lead to worsened PTSD symptoms and a greater risk for relapse down the road.
Dual diagnosis treatment often involves the following interventions:
- Drug and alcohol detox services
- Pharmacotherapy and medication maintenance
- Individual and group counseling
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Family therapy
- Motivational enhancement
- 12-step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous
- Case management
- Skills training
Some drug rehab centers offer services that cater specifically to veterans and the military population, such as PTSD/military peer support groups. When researching drug rehab centers for yourself or a loved one, ask about programs available for veterans.
Using TRICARE for Drug Rehab
America’s Rehab Campuses accept TRICARE Insurance to help active duty and retired military personnel recover from substance abuse and mental health disorders like PTSD. We offer drug detox, inpatient and residential rehab, and a range of other programs that can be individualized for you or a loved one who has served in the military. Contact us today at 833-272-7342 or fill out our insurance benefits form to begin the treatment process.