While the term “warrior” often refers to a soldier or a fighter, it’s also a way to define strength and resilience, especially when faced with a physical, emotional, or mental challenge. To battle the “invisible wounds” of military service, such as mental health issues, PTSD, and substance and alcohol addiction, requires a strategy of support and individualized treatment.
How to Start the Conversation
To prepare a discussion about addiction rehab and treatment for a loved one, first become more comfortable with the process. We have a list of articles that provide in-depth information for how to help your veteran overcome addiction.
Next, learn about the variables that prevent individuals from getting the help they deserve. For example:
- There’s valid concern as to why many military men won’t seek treatment.
- Female veterans are referred to as “an invisible population,” and the Military Times reported they encounter many challenges—including harassment—when trying to get help at VA hospitals or other services.
- Members of the BIPOC community might not feel they have resources that cater to their specific needs.
It’s no wonder some members of the military don’t feel comfortable opening up about their fears and concerns regarding substance use disorder (SUD), alcohol use disorder (AUD), and mental and emotional health. Even for the general population, many stigmas involving addiction still exist, including a perception that it’s a moral failing or a sign of weakness, which further damages the military community.
However, the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics reported that current and former military personnel have “a higher rate of SUD compared to the general population: 80 percent have AUD, and nearly 8 percent have a serious mental illness compared to 14 percent of the general population.”
Resources You Need to Help Your Vet
As isolating as it might feel to help your veteran loved one struggling with SUD or AUD, you’re truly not alone in this fight.
There are ample resources available to help support, educate, and guide you and your family through this challenging time.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers numerous resources spouses and families of veterans can use to get help for their loved one. They include:
Military One Source
A comprehensive site that provides extensive education, contacts, and crisis intervention for veterans suffering with SUD, AUD, behavioral issues, or mental health concerns.
Veterans Health Library
You’ll find extensive information that explains a number of co-occurring conditions and treatment options, including SUD and AUD, how traumatic brain injuries (TBI) often lead to substance abuse, and suicide prevention. You’ll find other extensive information about health and wellness, too.
Military Sexual Trauma
This special division of the VA sheds light on this often undisclosed crime, and how it impacts behavior involving SUD and AUD. The key message? “Don’t suffer in silence.”
Here are some additional channels for assistance that might be new to you:
Military Spouse Advocacy Network
This organization provides connection with and support for military spouses and families to help themselves and their active service members. You’ll find toolkits, guides, educational videos, and specific mental health and wellness resources.
Give an Hour
Led by clinical psychologist Barbara Van Dahlen, this site provides free, confidential counseling by licensed professionals so veterans and their family members can address issues like substance abuse; learn how to maintain healthy relationships; receive tips for military and veteran caregivers during the pandemic; and more.
Treatment Works for Vets
A joint effort between veterans, mental health researchers, and healthcare providers, this site offers an interactive guide for learning about evidence-based treatment for SUD, AUD, insomnia and sleep disruption, chronic pain, relationship stress, and more.
Lifeline for Vets
Veteran volunteers offer support to “veterans and their families who are enduring a crisis or who have a critical need for help” through a toll-free number: 888-777-4443.
The Care Veterans Deserve at Twin Lakes
Twin Lakes Recovery Center in Statesboro is a certified PsychArmor facility. This assures you that our professional team has the comprehensive training to specifically address the needs of veterans’ mental, emotional, and physical health.
Our individualized treatment philosophy helps current and former military personnel and their families understand the root causes of addiction. Issues such as trauma, PTSD, TBI, depression, anxiety, and even genetics might contribute to SUD or AUD. To move beyond the surface with an evidence-based and solution-oriented approach makes recovery not only possible, but effective.
Yes, it’s often difficult to ask for help. But to heal, become the best version of one’s self, improve relationships, and embrace new opportunities, it’s critical to redefine the meaning of warrior and draw on the strength and resilience once forged under fire to create peace. Don’t wait until someone you love hits the proverbial “rock bottom”: the best time for treatment is now.
We encourage you to sit down with your veteran loved one and plan a new mission: one of wellness, sobriety, and hope.
- Take time to learn how rehab works and what to expect when entering a treatment program. This might be a good way to break the ice to discuss a need for treatment.
- Also, ask your loved one to review the new confidential screening tools provided by the VA. These tools give them an opportunity to come to this important realization for themselves.
- If your loved one isn’t forthcoming about the need for treatment, consult with a board-certified intervention professional for help. An intervention doesn’t have to be confrontational, but it should prompt action.
Twin Lakes is also approved to accept VA Health benefits through the Community Care Network. So please talk with one of our admissions professionals to learn how we can serve you and your family like you’ve served our country.