Military veterans face enormous obstacles in returning to civilian society. The pressure of training, the trauma of combat, separation from family and readjusting back to normal life are not easy tasks.
Achieving addiction recovery as a veteran is challenging, but possible. If you’ve served our country and are struggling to break free from a substance use disorder, here’s what you need to know.
Healing from addiction requires professional treatment. While the military teaches cooperation, there’s also an emphasis on toughness and self-reliance. Sadly, this mindset can discourage veterans from seeking treatment, but professional help is the quickest and surest way to recover.
When you’re pursuing alcohol recovery as a veteran, you won’t want to choose just any provider, though. You’ll want to ensure that you’re getting the most personalized and evidence-based services available.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a common treatment for a variety of conditions that affect veterans disproportionately. CBT is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on changing thought patterns to change behavior and mitigate the negative symptoms of mental health disorders, according to Mayo Clinic.
Veterans may have skipped higher education to pursue military careers, veterans may have skills that don’t easily translate to today’s workforce, veterans struggle with PTSD at a higher rate, and so on. Regardless of the reason for employment difficulties, finding treatment that includes vocational assistance can improve life-long outcomes.
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs states that over 37,000 veterans were homeless in 2019. While there are numerous programs available for housing assistance for veterans, navigating the steps to accessing housing assistance is not easy, and housing may not be guaranteed to tenants who struggle with alcohol addictions.
Veterans in addiction recovery are more susceptible to housing insecurity, so having help in this area as part of treatment can mitigate difficulties and triggers to use down the road.
Another perk of professional treatment that you’ll want to take advantage of is access to medication-assisted treatment or MAT. MAT programs are designed to help in the early weeks and months of recovery when withdrawal symptoms are the strongest and you’re still learning skills to combat cravings.
Treatment for addiction should always include behavioral or mental health therapy. Therapy is helpful in dismantling addictions because it helps a person to reflect on and analyze his or her own addiction history. When you review your addiction history, rough memories are bound to come up.
In therapy, you’ll learn how to handle and process tricky memories and the emotions that come with them. No doubt many of these memories will have to do with your service in the military. Understanding those memories and being able to hold them in your mind without distress will offer you life-long healing.
The treatment you need
Seeking alcohol sobriety as a veteran is a unique journey that requires personalized treatment. When you’re ready to get started, reach out to Pyramid Military Therapy. Our Military Therapy program can get you the help you need from experts who know your situation and have experience working with people in your shoes. Schedule your appointment today, call 814-631-5676.