Drug and alcohol rehab for veterans
Veterans & Addiction
Substance use disorders (SUDs) are a significant problem among military veterans and are associated with numerous deleterious effects. The good news is there are a number of services and interventions available in drug and alcohol rehab for veterans to help reduce SUDs, including both behavioral and pharmacological treatments.
Despite numerous attempts by the VA and other agencies over the past two decades to reduce problematic substance use, rates of SUDs in veterans continue to rise. SUDs are associated with substantial negative correlates, including medical problems, other psychiatric disorders (e.g., military depression and anxiety), interpersonal and vocational impairment, and increased rates of suicidal ideation and attempts.
One study of military personnel found that ~30% of completed suicides were preceded by alcohol or drug use, and an estimated 20% of high-risk behavior deaths were attributed to alcohol or drug overdose. Given the deleterious associations with SUDs, greater attention to the identification of effective, evidence-based treatment is critically needed. 
SUDs are defined in the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a pattern of use that results in marked distress and/or impairment, with two or more symptoms occurring in the past year. The DSM-5 marked the transition of SUD from a categorical model of severity (previously defined as “abuse” or “dependence”) to a more dimensional model in which SUDs are qualified as mild, moderate, or severe, based on the number of symptoms endorsed by the patient.
DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria For Substance Use Disorders
Substance use disorders are defined as a pattern of use that results in marked distress and/or impairment, with two or more of the following symptoms over the course of a 12-month period:
- Using the substance in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than intended
- Unsuccessful attempts or persistent desire to reduce the use
- Too much time spent on obtaining, using, and/or recovering from the effects of the substance
- A strong craving for the substance
- Significant interference with roles at work, school, or home
- Continued use despite recurrent social or interpersonal consequences
- Reducing or giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of the substance use
- Substance use in situations in which it may be physically hazardous
- Substance use despite recurrent or persistent physical or psychological consequences
- Tolerance of the substance
- Withdrawal from the substance 
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Why Are Veterans At High Risk?
All veterans experience a period of readjustment as they leave the military and reintegrate into life with family, friends, and their community, leaving them with unique mental health challenges. A number of environmental stressors specific to military personnel have been linked to increased risk of SUDs among military personnel and veterans, including deployment, combat exposure, and post-deployment civilian/reintegration challenges.
Those who have experienced trauma or were hospitalized or injured during combat are at risk for increased drinking or drug use. Veterans with SUDs or a hospitalized patient diagnosed with alcohol use disorder can be 3-4 times more likely to receive a PTSD or depression diagnosis. 
Veterans Addiction Statistics
Despite strict US military policies implemented in 1986 to reduce problematic alcohol consumption, heavy drinking and alcohol use disorders are common among military personnel. Policies tend to be enforced with inconsistency, and heavy alcohol consumption has long been a cultural norm used for recreation, stress relief, and socializing among military personnel. Alcohol use disorders are the most prevalent form of SUD among military personnel.
A study examining data collected as part of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that:
- Compared to their non-veteran counterparts, veterans were more likely to use alcohol (56.6% vs 50.8% in a 1-month period) and to report heavy use of alcohol (7.5% vs 6.5% in a 1-month period).
- Those with high levels of combat exposure are more likely to engage in heavy (26.8%) and binge (54.8%) drinking relative to other military personnel (17% and 45%, respectively).
These increasing rates of problematic drinking are particularly concerning, given that alcohol is the fourth leading cause of preventable death in the general US population, and that alcohol-impaired driving accounts for 31% of all driving-related fatalities. Among veterans, specifically, studies demonstrate that alcohol use increases the risk of interpersonal violence, poorer health, and mortality.
Prescription drug abuse, such as opioids, is on the rise among veterans. Opioids, which are one of the most addicting prescription drugs available, are being prescribed at increasing rates to veterans to address issues such as migraine headaches and chronic pain.
- From 2001 to 2009, the percentage of veterans in the VA health care system receiving an opioid prescription increased from 17% to 24%, and the number of prescriptions written for pain medication by military physicians has more than quadrupled.
- From 2003 to 2007, chronic opioid use (i.e., 6 months or longer) among young veterans in the VA health care system increased from 3.0% to 4.5%. On average, patients have been prescribed two different opioids and had three different prescribers.
- Of these opioid prescriptions, the majority were for oxycodone (46.9%), hydrocodone (39.5%), or codeine (6.8%).
- Mental health diagnoses increase the likelihood of receiving an opioid prescription. Specifically, veterans with a diagnosis of PTSD (17.8%) or another mental health disorder (11.7%) were more likely to receive an opioid prescription than those without mental health diagnoses (6.5%).
- As compared to veterans without a mental health diagnosis, those with a diagnosis of PTSD receive higher doses of opioid medications, are more likely to receive a simultaneous prescription for additional opioids or for a sedative-hypnotic, and are more likely to receive an early refill.
Unfortunately, research suggests that those with mental health disorders are also more likely to develop opioid use disorders and to experience a number of adverse clinical outcomes (e.g., inpatient or emergency room admissions, opioid-related accidents, opioid overdose, and violence-related injuries).
Illicit Drug Use
Illicit drug use among veterans is roughly equivalent to their civilian counterparts. Marijuana accounts for the vast majority of illicit drug use among veterans (3.5% report marijuana use, 1.7% report use of illicit drugs other than marijuana in a 1-month period).
From 2002 to 2009, cannabis use disorders increased >50% among veterans in the VA health care system. Finally, data suggest that veterans are more likely to be smokers, and the age-adjusted prevalence of smoking is higher among veterans than in matched civilian groups (27% vs 21%). Of concern for medical outcomes, more veterans than civilians with coronary heart disease are smokers. Furthermore, cigarette smoking accounts for 23% of cancer-related deaths among veterans who are former smokers, and 50% of cancer-related deaths among current smokers. 
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Rehab Programs For Veterans
Treatment for various substance use and mental disorders is available through military health systems and has been shown to be effective. Treatments include behavioral interventions and medicines when available. All treatment should be individualized, including approved medication options approved for patients with alcohol, nicotine, and opioid use disorders.
If you’re struggling with substance use problems, you’re not alone. Many Veterans have problems with the use of alcohol, tobacco, street drugs, and prescription medicines. We Level Up drug and alcohol rehab for veterans is here to help. We provide many options for Veterans seeking treatment for substance use problems ranging from unhealthy alcohol use to life-threatening addiction. The services we offer you depend on your specific needs.
Drug Addiction Treatment For Veterans
Despite the dangers associated with a chronic disease like addiction, there is hope on the horizon. Treatment for addiction aims to help users break free from the physical and mental bonds of addiction while fostering healthy coping mechanisms, life skills, and the emotional strength necessary to live a sober life. Often guided by doctors, nurses, counselors, and other addiction medicine professionals, a successful treatment program can help users to achieve abstinence and relapse prevention.
For those suffering from drug addiction, We Level Up is here. As a licensed and accredited rehabilitation center, we are dedicated to helping you meet your goals, one day at a time.
In an effort to help you find and maintain sobriety, we favor a personalized approach to care. From the moment you begin with us, our counselors will help you find a path that fits with your background, your substance(s) of choice, your lifestyle, your interests, and your unique needs.
To best customize our services to your needs, our programming includes:
If you are considering addiction treatment for yourself or someone you love, We Level Up can help. Please contact us today for a confidential consultation with a member of our intake team.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment For Veteran
To help to address alcohol addiction, We Level Up has worked to develop and continues to support veteran-specific treatment programs which provide patient-centered care in trauma-informed environments. These unique programs recognize the values, core beliefs, and culture of military service. We Level Up is committed to supporting and fostering the development of expanded services for veterans; promoting the use of the effective treatment models and therapies within those services, and ensuring the ongoing clinical competence of its workforce in working with veterans.
Detox For Veterans
The goal of We Level Up detox treatment includes:
- Reducing withdrawal symptoms
- Preventing complications of alcohol or drug use
- Therapy to get you to stop drinking (abstinence)
People with moderate-to-severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may need inpatient treatment at a hospital or other facility that treats alcohol withdrawal. You will be watched closely for hallucinations and other signs of delirium tremens.
Treatment may include:
- Monitoring of blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, and blood levels of different chemicals in the body
- Fluids or medicines are given through a vein (by IV)
- Sedation with medications until withdrawal is complete
Residential Treatment For Veterans
Residential addiction treatment, or residential rehab, is a type of substance abuse treatment program that usually lasts 30, 60, 90 days, and sometimes longer. With residential treatment, you reside at the treatment facility 24/7, eating, sleeping, and attending various treatment therapies and meetings until you complete the program. Usually, you will spend about 30 hours or more per week participating in activities related to your recovery plan. Your access to people outside of the treatment facility is limited, with your phone and any other personal electronics being removed. Although visitation is usually allowed, it is typically limited in terms of who can visit and when.
A safe and supportive environment is the other major factor that may tell you that residential treatment is necessary. If you are considering long-term residential treatment or any other form of drug or alcohol rehabilitation, contact our team at We Level Up. We can help you determine the best route for drug and alcohol rehab for veterans and get you treatment ASAP.
Inpatient Alcohol Rehab For Veterans
Inpatient alcohol rehab for veterans may focus on treating co-occurring mental health disorders that commonly afflict combat veterans and homeless veterans. Often, alcoholism is connected with a traumatic event that leaves a person with lingering feelings (e.g., guilt, shame, anger, hopelessness) that negatively impact mental health. Mental health disorders like PTSD, depression, and anxiety disorders are important to treat alongside alcohol use disorders as these are shown to be closely linked.
The inpatient treatment staff in these programs are trained in best practices for treating veterans and maintain a supportive atmosphere to build trust and acceptance. In early recovery, treatment focuses heavily on understanding personal life events and one’s responses to those events. Your story will help you and your treatment team develop an appropriate, safe plan for change, and to prepare a routine for when you go home.
Inpatient Drug Rehab For Veterans
If you’re a veteran seeking recovery, or you’re close to a vet who needs treatment for drug addiction, inpatient rehab centers with a specialism in substance abuse can provide:
- Medications to more comfortably manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings (for certain types of substance dependence)
- Medications and individual therapy to address anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Coping skills to help you deal with common life stressors
- Training in how to handle relapse triggers
- Counseling for couples and families to help repair damaged relationships
- Connections to self-help support programs in your community, like 12 Step Programs
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Veterans PTSD Treatment
Whether you just returned from a deployment or have been home for 40 years, it’s never too late to get help for PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder). Getting counseling or treatment can help you manage your symptoms and keep them from getting worse.
Veterans & Mental Health
As the United States faces two decades of continuous war, media and individuals with personal military connections have elevated public and professional concerns for the mental health of veterans and service members. The most publicized mental health challenges facing veteran service members are PTSD and depression. Some research has suggested that approximately 14% to 16% of U.S. service members deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq have PTSD or depression. 
PTSD Residential Treatment Programs For Veterans
Treatment for PTSD should be initiated soon after diagnosis when symptoms have persisted for at least four weeks, although most veteran patients present months or years later. Of the wide variety of psychotherapies available, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is considered to have the strongest evidence for reducing the symptoms of PTSD in veterans and has been shown to be more effective than any other nondrug treatment. 
We Level Up inpatient or residential treatment offers the most structured care in the most supportive environment for veterans with PTSD. It may also include medically supervised detox services and integrated physical health care. Any and all forms of treatment should last at least 30 days and include aftercare programs.
EMDR Therapy For PTSD Veterans
EMDR Therapy is provided at select locations for specific programs and may not be suitable for all patients.
Eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) has been gaining acceptance and is now recommended as an effective treatment for PTSD in both civilian and combat-related cases in a wide range of practice guidelines. In EMDR therapy for PTSD veterans, the therapist guides patients to make eye movements or follow hand taps, for instance, at the same time they are recounting traumatic events. The general theory behind EMDR is that focusing on other stimuli while revisiting the experience helps the patient reprocess traumatic information until it is no longer psychologically disruptive.
Complicating the diagnosis and assessment of PTSD in military veterans are the high rates of psychiatric comorbidity. Depression is the most common comorbidity of PTSD in veterans. Although the condition does not garner the same attention as PTSD, depression remains one of the leading mental health conditions in the military. In fact, studies show that up to 9% of all appointments in the ambulatory military health network are related to depression. The military environment can act as a catalyst for the development and progression of depression. 
A professional dual diagnosis treatment program for depression might begin with a substance abuse screening, allowing providers to identify and assess any substance abuse issues that might be in play. We Level Up medical therapies can help veterans to get sober in a safe manner, and therapy might help to ensure that those addiction issues don’t recur in the future.
Veterans Suicide Prevention
Veteran suicide rates are at the highest level in recorded history, with annual deaths by suicide at over 6,000 veterans per year. Overall suicide rates within the United States have increased by 30% between 1999 and 2016. A study involving 27 states estimated that 17.8% of these recorded suicides were by veterans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published data in 2016 that indicated veteran suicide rates were 1.5 times greater than non-veterans. Research has shown that veterans are at significantly increased risk of suicide during their first year outside of the military.
Within the U.S. Armed Forces, suicide rates doubled between 2000 and 2012, but since 2012 there have been no appreciable changes in the annual rate, with approximately 19.74 deaths per 100,000 service members. 
Substance abuse is a key factor in Veteran suicides.  Thankfully, there are highly effective, evidence-based treatments for SUD that include a variety of proven therapies and medications. For OUD, there are lifesaving medications (such as buprenorphine treatment) that have transformed countless lives.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment For Veterans
Medical diagnoses that were more strongly associated with veterans that have dual diagnosis included seizure disorders, alcoholic liver disease, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Psychiatric comorbidities that distinguished veterans with dual diagnosis included bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Veterans with dually diagnosed PTSD and substance use disorder also had a greater likelihood of having had mental health inpatient treatment.
We Level Up drug and alcohol rehab for veterans provide comprehensive therapies for people who have both addictions and mental illnesses, and depression is one of the conditions we encounter most frequently. If you’d like to get started, please call us.
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The Link Between PTSD & Substance Abuse
There is a significant need for an advanced understanding of the treatment of co-occurring posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorders (SUD). Approximately half of the individuals seeking treatment for SUD meet current criteria for PTSD, an estimate more than 5 times greater than the U.S. lifetime prevalence rate. In addition, the prognosis for individuals in SUD treatment who have co-occurring PTSD is poorer compared with those without PTSD.  For example, veterans with co-occurring PTSD report more intense cravings for drugs/alcohol and tend to relapse more quickly than individuals without PTSD upon completion of SUD treatment.
PTSD & Substance Abuse
Someone with a dual diagnosis must treat both conditions. For PTSD and addiction treatment to be effective, you need to stop using alcohol or drugs. Treatments may include behavioral therapies and medications.
We Level Up drug and alcohol rehab for veterans consider addiction to be a three-fold disease: a physical allergy, a mental obsession, and a spiritual malady. Our dedicated team of trained professionals will evaluate the needs of our clients by working with them on a one-on-one basis and will then customize a program of recovery that will heal them in Body, Mind, and Spirit. By emphasizing the spiritual aspect of recovery, we go a step beyond the typical approach to treatment—and it’s a big step.
We Level Up addiction rehab centers are a guest-centered program, focused on a model of strength and empowerment. Generally, the abuse of drugs and alcohol are symptoms of deeper, core issues, that are best addressed from a psychological and Level Up perspective.
Substance Abuse Can Lead To Suicide
In a large study following adults who drink alcohol, suicide ideation was reported among persons with depression. In another survey, persons who reported that they had made a suicide attempt during their lifetime were more likely to have had a depressive disorder, and many also had an alcohol and/or substance abuse disorder. In a study of all non-traffic injury deaths associated with alcohol intoxication, over 20 percent were suicides. 
Addiction therapy begins the moment you admit to needing help and are ready to enter a treatment program. When you arrive at We Level Up, you will be assigned an addiction counselor who will work with you one-on-one in private sessions for the entirety of your stay.
Help For Alcoholic Veterans, Drug Abuse & Co-Occurring Diagnosis
We Level Up philosophy states that addiction is typically caused by various underlying, unresolved issues, and that the client is merely using alcohol or other drugs as a coping mechanism to deal with the trauma or pain, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We believe that in order to end the cycle of dependency one must also uncover the reason why they are choosing to numb themselves with alcohol or other drugs.
Therapy sessions at We Level Up rehab centers offer veterans a safe space to dig deep and discover the complex nature behind their addictions, and to learn how to resolve and heal each particular underlying issue. We truly believe that each client is an individual with unique life circumstances. Evidence-based therapies include, but are not limited to: Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, We Level Up helps the client recognize and correct the dysfunctional behavioral patterns that have overtaken them, and ultimately heal the pain of the past so that they can lead a healthy, addiction-free life.
Average Cost Of Substance Abuse Treatment In Veterans
You’ve come to the right place to get the addiction treatment that will make a lasting difference. We Level Up accepts most drug and alcohol rehab for veterans insurance plans. We understand and know how to negotiate with insurance companies to ensure an affordable treatment experience. If you haven’t already please give us a call so we can tell you more about how our program can help set you or your loved one up for success.
Insurance companies are required to cover certain basic health services, which include the treatment of mental and behavioral health conditions as well as substance use disorders (SUDs). Additionally, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) ensures that all private health insurance plans cover substance abuse rehab and treatment to the same degree that they cover other medical issues, so you can expect equal levels of coverage for both. 
Get The Help You Deserve
FREE 24-hour Hotline: Get a free consultation on your best-fitting treatment programs along with free rehab insurance verification. Call We Level Up today and speak with one of our addiction specialists to check your rehab insurance coverage and benefits. We Level Up addiction counselors will discuss the average cost of drug and alcohol rehab for veterans based on the personalized treatment that works best for you.
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[1,4] Substance use disorders in military veterans: prevalence and treatment challenges – National Center for Biotechnology Information
 Adapted from American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5®). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2013.
 Substance Use and Military Life DrugFacts – National Institute on Drug Abuse
[5-6] PTSD Treatment for Veterans: What’s Working, What’s New, and What’s Next – National Center for Biotechnology Information
[7-8] Veteran and Military Mental Health Issues – National Center for Biotechnology Information
 Report links substance use and suicide among Veterans – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
 Treatment of Co-occurring Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Use Disorders – National Center for Biotechnology Information
 Do alcohol and other drug abuse increase the risk for suicide? – U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
 HealthCare.gov. (n.d.). Mental health & substance abuse coverage
Table of Contents
- 1 Drug and alcohol rehab for veterans
- 1.1 Veterans & Addiction
- 1.2 Why Are Veterans At High Risk?
- 1.3 Veterans Addiction Statistics
- 1.4 Rehab Programs For Veterans
- 1.5 Residential Treatment For Veterans
- 1.6 Inpatient Alcohol Rehab For Veterans
- 1.7 Inpatient Drug Rehab For Veterans
- 1.8 Veterans PTSD Treatment
- 1.9 Veterans & Mental Health
- 1.10 PTSD Residential Treatment Programs For Veterans
- 1.11 Dual Diagnosis Treatment For Veterans
- 1.12 The Link Between PTSD & Substance Abuse
- 1.13 PTSD & Substance Abuse
- 1.14 Help For Alcoholic Veterans, Drug Abuse & Co-Occurring Diagnosis
- 1.15 Get The Help You Deserve