A considerable number of veterans are affected by substance abuse disorders. Despite this fact, substance use disorders are commonly overlooked and undertreated among veterans. Whether this is due to the stigma around substance abuse disorders or because of possible repercussions, substance abuse among veterans is on the rise, and when left untreated can be detrimental to everyday life. While military reports of illicit drug use among personnel have remained lower in number than civilian reports, abuse of alcohol and prescription drugs has skyrocketed among veterans.
For veterans seeking treatment, there are a number of different options available to explore. Rehabilitation treatment is available for veterans in a number of different forms, whether treatment is received at the VA or through a private provider like Rally Point, where we specialize in drug and alcohol addiction treatment. Now a proud Tricare approved provider, at Rally Point we want to help serve those who have served our country.
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Substance Abuse and Military Veterans
First, here at Rally Point we understand and account for the fact that those who serve in the military often face very unique situations that are challenging physically, mentally, and emotionally, sometimes simultaneously. These experiences are vastly different from those the average civilian would face. Substance use disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder are common among veterans, often stemming from times of combat or instances of sexual abuse.
Some information based on reports from the VA:
- On average, about 11 percent of veterans who have seen combat suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Of veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder, more than 20% also have some type of substance use disorder.
- Of those veterans who have an alcohol use disorder, most are binge drinkers. The binge drinking is thought to be a result of memories of combat or other trauma.
- Almost a third of veterans who seek treatment for substance use disorders also have some type of post-traumatic stress disorder.
- When compared to veterans who do not have a post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis, those who do have a PTSD diagnosis are almost twice as likely to smoke nicotine.
- After the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, about 10% of veterans who were seen at the VA have a substance abuse disorder, whether it be with alcohol or drugs.
It is clear to see that substance abuse disorders and mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder are often overlapping in nature. This means that veterans who are seeking treatment for these disorders require personalized programs that are able to address their needs specifically.
Prescription Drugs and Alcohol Use in The Military
While there is a low level of illicit drug abuse within the military (it is thought that this is due to the military’s zero-tolerance policy when it comes to these substances), statistics when it comes to military personnel and alcohol and prescription drug abuse do not look good. In fact, alcohol and prescription drug abuse rates among military personnel are higher than in their civilian counterparts. The number of military personnel admitting to misusing prescription drugs has increased steadily over the years. In the year 2002, 2 percent of military personnel fell into this group. In 2005, that percentage rose to 4 percent, then jumped to 11 percent in 2008. The most commonly misused medications by military personnel are opioid pain medications.
Two commonly cited reasons for drug abuse by military personnel increasing are the ease of availability and prevalence of prescriptions being written for these medications. Frequently, pain medications need to be prescribed to veterans for combat-related injuries. They are also prescribed in situations where vets feel body strain over time from carrying heavy equipment during one or more deployment.
Alcohol abuse among veterans is even more prevalent than drug abuse. In 1998, 35 percent of active-duty members reported binge drinking. Twenty years later, in 2008, that number had risen to 47 percent. In that same year, 20 percent of military personnel reported binge drinking on a weekly basis for at least a month. The rate of those who did so was even higher among those who had high combat exposure, up to 27 percent.
There are a few recommended ways to address the issue of substance abuse within the military. Here are the suggestions of a 2012 report by the Institute of Medicine for the Department of Defense:
- Begin measures meant to limit access to alcohol on military bases
- Increase the use of evidence-based prevention and interventions or treatment
- Expand access to care for those facing substance use disorders
- Make insurance options more inclusive when it comes to outpatient treatment
- Better equip healthcare providers; recognizing and screening for substance abuse disorders will allow providers to better refer patients for treatment needed
The report by the Institute of Medicine also states that if the issue of substance abuse within the military is to be addressed, increased confidentiality and a cultural shift will need to take place – meaning mental health and substance abuse will need to be destigmatized, removing the fear of ridicule in those suffering from them.
Treatment Options in Palm Beach, Florida
In Palm Beach, there are a number of different military alcohol and drug addiction treatment options, meant to suit each individual’s needs. Here are a few of the most common forms of treatment available:
- Detoxification: The first part of most rehabilitation stays is called detoxification, or detox. During the detox process, any withdrawal symptoms being experienced will be addressed. Withdrawal symptoms range greatly from person to person, so the level of care required at this point in treatment varies as well, though detox should be monitored by qualified professionals either at a hospital or a Substance Use Disorder Rehabilitation Facility.
- Residential Treatment: Designed for people who are unable to function using outpatient therapy alone, residential treatment programs are able to provide 24-hour support to clients who do not require hospitalization.
- Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): In PHP, treatment services are provided to clients at certain times (in the morning, evening, weekends, etc.) and patients typically stay at the recovery center for extra support. PHP is popular for people transitioning from detox or residential treatment.
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): A common treatment program for those transitioning out of PHP, IOP is meant for those who need services only at certain times. IOP is great for those who require stabilization and relapse prevention.
- Outpatient Program (OP): Outpatient therapy is for those who have transitioned out of a higher level of treatment like IOP or PHP. Outpatient therapy often involves individual, family, and group therapy sessions.
For those seeking treatment, it is important to keep in mind the prevalence of dual diagnoses among veterans. Rehabilitation centers should treat co-occurring disorders and use effective treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, with a staff trained in trauma-informed care.
Treatment costs can be tricky to pin down, as they will vary depending on a number of factors including location, insurance coverage, and services required. Fortunately, insurance companies are covering more treatment options than ever before, and many rehabilitation centers have financing options or discounts. While treatment costs should be a factor that is considered when choosing a rehabilitation facility, though they should not hold anyone back from seeking treatment in Palm Beach, Florida, as there are many options for financing care.
Like with standard insurance, Tricare coverage has many different treatment options, though it may not always cover the entirety of your stay at a rehabilitation facility. To go over what types of services Tricare will cover at Rally Point, please contact us at any time. One of our dedicated staff members will collect some information and help determine the type and duration of services that Tricare will be able to cover for you.
The TRICARE insurance plans we accept include:
- TRICARE Prime
- TRICARE Prime Remote
- TRICARE Prime Overseas
- TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas
- TRICARE Select
- TRICARE Select Overseas
- TRICARE For Life
- TRICARE Reserve Select
- TRICARE Retired Reserve
- TRICARE Young Adult
- US Family Health Plan
How Long Does Treatment Last?
Treatment lengths vary, depending on insurance coverage, the pre-assessment with our staff and a number of other factors, including amenities provided, location, required care. Depending on these factors, we can work with you to find a treatment length that is ideal.
How to Find Treatment?
There are a number of different ways to determine your treatment options:
- Consult with a family physician or other medical professional and get a recommendation
- Contact Tricare for both in and out-of-network treatment options
- Browse the Veteran Affairs website for both PTSD and substance use disorder services.
- Online Resources include the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers’ directory, provider listed on CARF International and The Joint Commission websites.
Remember, these lists do not guarantee quality. Always research providers, look at the reviews, and if convenient, schedule a visit to the facility. Be wary of ads offering free treatment, unverifiable treatment center rankings, and generic websites or directories.
Rally Point – Serving Those Who Have Served Us
Located in sunny Palm Beach, Florida, here at Rally Point we are proud to be not only state-licensed, but Joint Commission accredited. Our staff is trained in trauma-informed care, cognitive behavioral therapy, and the treatment of co-occurring disorders. With a team of veterans on our staff, we are able to provide care in a judgment free environment, and a level of relatability with our clients that is unmatched. Contact us anytime at (888) 797-2559, our 24/7 hotline and online assessment are always available to help you get started with your own treatment plan.