Helping an Addicted Veteran: Resources for Loved Ones

Substance abuse and mental health difficulties are serious issues among America’s veterans — and the U.S. government has known this for decades. Yet, despite all of the research, funding, and support offered by the military, military families are often at a loss when it comes time to get help for a veteran with substance abuse issues. If you want to help a veteran with substance abuse issues, where should you start? And how do you know who you can trust? These resources for loved ones of addicted vets may help.

Veterans & Addiction 

First, it’s important to understand the nature of addiction in America’s veterans. Substance use disorders are not the result of any lack of willpower of moral failing. Of course, you know firsthand that veterans are some of the most dedicated and strong individuals around. Rather, addiction is merely the surface-level symptom of issues deep in the mind and heart. 

Trauma and mental health issues like PTSD or depression often serve as the kindling for the fire of addiction. Individuals who are wracked with pain and losing hope often turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of quieting the mind and numbing out. Over time, though, that only makes things much worse.

How to Know When A Veteran Needs Rehab

If you believe that a loved one could benefit from rehab, you are probably right. People with all levels of substance abuse issues can find support and healing in treatment, and you don’t have to wait for some “rock bottom” moment before finding help.

If you see negative changes in a loved one’s health, physical appearance, job performance, relationships, mood, or hygiene, it’s possible that their substance abuse has reached the point where residential addiction treatment could be helpful. In treatment, veterans can work on healing their PTSD and trauma from the inside out, as well as learning coping skills for life after service. Residential addiction treatment could be the place where new hope blooms.

The VA & Substance Abuse Programs

Largely because of how pervasive substance abuse is among vets, the VA does cover substance abuse treatment. Each veteran’s benefits are different, so it’s best to check in with the VA yourself. But, the process is generally the same. 

First, a veteran must make an appointment with his or her primary care provider to discuss his or her substance abuse issues. Then, the doctor will perform a screening to determine if residential addiction treatment for veterans is necessary. If so, they will provide a referral and resources for finding treatment. That treatment may be at a VA facility. However, when treatment is not available in an appropriate time frame, or is too far from where a veteran lives, private addiction treatment may be possible.

Private Addiction Treatment for Veterans

Sunflower Recovery is a private addiction treatment center for veterans and civilians alike. We are proud to offer a special customized veterans program to address the unique needs of vets. Call our admissions team to start the conversation, and they will work with you and the VA to explore what options are available for treatment. It only takes one phone call to plant the seed of a new life — for yourself and your loved one.

Helping an Addicted Veteran: Resources for Loved Ones