Veteran Substance Abuse Treatment

Substance use disorder comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s a young adult or a single mother, it can affect anybody. In Washington state, there are many individuals that suffer from substance use disorder. Included in that are those who have served in the military and are in need of rehabilitation for substance abuse or co-occurring disorders.

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How Often Do Veterans Deal With Addiction?

Veterans are often faced with a unique set of challenges that can leave them feeling isolated from the rest of society. Sadly, many veterans struggle with addiction issues in the wake of their service. Addiction is an issue that affects a large portion of the veteran population; nearly one out of every three veterans seeks treatment for substance abuse disorder each year.

Additionally, more than one in four veterans receive treatment at a mental health rehab due to substance-related issues. It is not easy dealing with the residual impact of being a veteran; this makes it difficult to find healthy coping mechanisms if the resources aren’t available. The prevalence of addiction among veterans is particularly concerning given the potential long-term effects it can have on mental and physical health.

Long-Term Effects of Addiction on Veterans

Addiction is a serious issue that significantly affects military veterans in the United States. Substance abuse and other addictions can cause short-term and long-term negative effects on veterans’ health, relationships, finances, employment, and overall well-being. Long-term addiction can lead to physical and psychological issues that last for years after an individual’s service has ended. Knowing the long-term effects of addiction on veterans and how to seek help for it can make a difference in recovery.

Substance abuse is a major problem among veterans and alcohol, opioids, and stimulants are particularly common addictions. The combination of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance misuse can lead to long-term physical and psychological issues for veterans. These include the following:

  • A weakened immune system
  • Increased risk of chronic illnesses such as cancer or heart disease
  • Decreased cognitive functioning
  • Memory problems
  • Reduced social functioning
  • Overall decrease in quality of life

Why do Veterans Deal with Addiction?

Veterans often struggle with mental health issues when they return home from military service. These issues can lead to alcohol and drug addiction, putting veterans at risk for a variety of long-term problems. Addiction is a serious issue among veterans that needs to be addressed in order to help them live healthy and productive lives.

There are many reasons why veterans may deal with addiction. Combat trauma, PTSD, and other psychological difficulties are difficult to cope with and may lead veterans to self-medicate by using substances. Additionally, the military lifestyle often involves frequent relocations, which can cause feelings of isolation that lead to substance abuse. Veterans may also find it difficult to transition back into civilian life due to a lack of job opportunities and social support. These difficulties can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues that may contribute to addiction.

It’s important for veterans to have access to the resources they need in order to address their substance abuse issues. Healthcare providers should be aware of the signs of addiction so that they can provide timely treatment and support services. Additionally, there are a number of programs and organizations that are dedicated to helping veterans struggling with addiction.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is triggered by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It can affect people of all ages, and the symptoms may manifest differently in different individuals. Commonly reported symptoms include intrusive memories, flashbacks, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and increased startle response. PTSD can have a major impact on day-to-day life, making it difficult for those affected to function normally.

In regards to service members, combat trauma is a specific type of PTSD that is experienced in soldiers and first responders. People who experience combat trauma may have difficulty coping with the intensity of their experiences and memories. This could lead to persistent feelings of fear, guilt, and horror. They may also suffer from detachment from friends or family members due to their inability to communicate what they’ve endured. Other symptoms include nightmares, insomnia, feeling emotionally numb, and difficulty concentrating.

How Does Combat Trauma Influence Addiction?

Combat trauma often leads to changes in the brain, which can make individuals more vulnerable to addiction. When faced with a traumatic experience, the body releases hormones called cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream. These hormones trigger the body’s “fight-or-flight” response and can lead to changes in behavior and thought patterns. For some people, these changes can lead to substance abuse as a way of self-medicating or escaping from the trauma.

The physical and psychological damage caused by combat can also increase an individual’s risk for addiction. Combat veterans are more likely than non-veterans to have experienced physical trauma, such as head injuries or burn wounds, which can cause long-term pain and discomfort. In addition, the psychological effects of combat, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression that may be relieved by using substances or engaging in risky behaviors.

The Difficulties of Returning to Civilian Life

Returning to civilian life after spending a significant amount of time in the military can be incredibly difficult. It is normal to feel overwhelmed, anxious, or confused about how to adjust to a new lifestyle after having been accustomed to a structured and regimented environment that the military provides. The transition back into civilian life requires readjustment both physically and mentally, as veterans are faced with a number of challenges that can make the process difficult.

For veterans, readjustment to civilian life may involve the following:

  • Finding new employment
  • Establishing relationships and engaging in social activities outside of a military structure
  • Dealing with physical and mental health issues related to their service
  • Preparing for a future without the sense of purpose or mission that was previously provided by the military

Do Veterans Turn to Substances to Cope with Civilian Life?

Veterans of the United States Armed Forces often face difficult transitions when returning to civilian life. They may have experienced trauma, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues during their service that follows them home. Unfortunately, many veterans struggle to find healthy ways to cope with these struggles; instead, they turn to substances such as alcohol or drugs to numb their pain and avoid facing the problems they’re dealing with. This behavior can have devastating effects on veterans’ physical and mental health, relationships, and overall quality of life.

Veteran Alcohol Misuse

Alcohol misuse among veterans is a major problem in our society. It affects thousands of men and women who have served in the military; this has serious implications for their health and well-being. Alcohol misuse often begins with a pattern of heavy drinking or binge drinking while in the military. Our alcohol rehab in Washington State supports veterans, first responders, and civilians on their journey of recovery.

Heavy drinking can be attributed to access to alcohol on bases, stressful work environments, and a culture of “work hard, play hard.” This can lead to an increased risk of alcohol dependence as veterans transition back into civilian life. Veterans who have PTSD or traumatic brain injury are particularly vulnerable to problem drinking as they may turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism for their symptoms.

Alcohol as a Coping Mechanism

Alcohol is often seen as a coping mechanism to deal with difficult life situations. It can offer a temporary escape from reality, numbing emotions and providing an outlet for letting off steam. However, it is important to recognize that alcohol use can lead to serious health consequences; it should not be used as a primary means of dealing with stress or distress.

Veteran Drug Misuse

Veteran drug misuse is a growing problem in the United States. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates that about 11 percent of all veterans misused prescription drugs; an even higher percentage abused illicit substances such as cocaine or heroin. This issue can have serious consequences for the overall health and well-being of those involved. This could include depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and even suicidal thoughts.

Veterans are often more likely to misuse drugs due to the unique challenges they face as they return home from battle. These may include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and other physical or emotional health concerns. These types of issues can lead to self-medicating with substances to cope, leading to addiction and substance abuse.

Paying for Substance Abuse Treatment as a Veteran

Veterans with substance use disorders have access to a variety of treatment options. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides comprehensive care, including medication-assisted treatments and intensive outpatient programs, in both residential and outpatient settings.

The VA offers free services for eligible veterans who meet the criteria for addiction treatment. To receive these services, veterans may need to be enrolled in the VA health care program. Veterans may also need to be referred for addiction treatment services through their primary care provider or mental health specialist.


Bayview Accepts Tricare Insurance

In addition to all of this, veterans can access services through Bayview Recovery Services and  TRICARE. Tricare is a health insurance plan for active-duty and retired service members and their families, and certain former spouses. These services are generally available at no cost for qualified veterans; they may include residential treatment programs, medication-assisted treatment, counseling, or 12-step support groups.

If you or a loved one have served and are looking for the utmost in comprehensive treatment for addiction in Washington, you can contact us here.

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