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Military Rehab Centers for Addiction Treatment

Active military personnel and veterans alike face emotional and physical challenges that put them at risk for developing a substance use disorder (SUD). Military rehab centers can address the specific needs of those who have served, providing resources and support that can help you or a loved one on the road to recovery.

What Is Military Drug and Alcohol Rehab?

Active military personnel and veterans commonly experience depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and SUDs. Anxiety, fear, physical injuries, separation from loved ones, and the demands of military service make even the most courageous individuals vulnerable to alcohol or drug misuse.1

Military alcohol and drug rehab centers have programs for SUDs that can address the specific needs of active military personnel and veterans. These programs vary but often provide services that can help you or a loved one cope with the psychological effects of combat and deployment as well as the physical effects of addiction.

Substance Misuse in Active Military Members & Veterans 

Substance use disorders occur when a person’s use of alcohol or drugs causes clinically significant impairment, disability, health issues, or results in failure to meet responsibilities at home, school, or work.2 Various factors including anxiety, depression, genetics, peer pressure, and stress may contribute to the development of SUDs.

Those who have served in the military often experience troubling things, are away from their loved ones for extended periods of time, and deal with various stressors. Sometimes military personnel and veterans turn to substances to self-medicate, deal with stress, and self-treat PTSD.

Substance use disorders are common in active military personnel and veterans. More than 4% of active military personnel report misusing one or more prescription drugs in the past year.3 Approximately 1 in 10 veterans have been diagnosed with a substance use disorder.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), opioid use disorders often begin as a result of managing the pain of a deployment injury.1 But because of the highly addictive nature of opioids, continued use of the drug can lead to opioid dependence and addiction.1

While various substances may be misused by active military personnel and veterans, the substance most often misused is alcohol. Data shows that approximately 65% of veterans admitted for treatment were admitted for alcohol misuse.5

Dual Diagnosis: PTSD and SUDs

Military personnel and veterans are at an increased risk for post-traumatic stress disorder when exposed to military combat.6 A chronic mental condition, PTSD may cause anxiety, depression, flashbacks to the traumatic event, irritability, sleep disturbances, and restlessness.7 The defining symptom of PTSD is the inability to recover from the memory of the trauma and return to a healthy, stable life.

PTSD is often an underlying factor for substance misuse among active military personnel and veterans. Although professional treatment is available, many are not aware that the anger, anxiety, nightmares, and trauma they experience can be attributed to a medical disorder. Instead of seeking therapy from a mental health professional, those with PTSD may turn to alcohol or drugs to cope. To successfully recover from substance misuse, you need a dual diagnosis treatment program that also addresses PTSD.

How Is Dual Diagnosis Treated for Military Members?

Military personnel and veterans can be assessed and treated for dual diagnosis, which means two or more conditions are presented at the same time or one after the other. SUDs and mental health conditions, such as anxiety, PTSD, or depression are common comorbidities. Patients may have a better opportunity for recovery by treating both conditions.8

Rehab services are available through government-sponsored facilities or private treatment centers that specialize in addressing the needs of the military. Services that may be used to treat drug and alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorders include:

  • Detoxification and Stabilization. Medical detox helps clear the body of drugs and alcohol using medications that ease the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms.
  • Inpatient treatment. Military personnel and veterans who require 24-hour supervision by medical and mental health care staff can benefit from inpatient/residential care.
  • Outpatient treatment. This type of addiction treatment best serves military personnel and veterans who do not require 24-hour care and desire the conveniences of an outpatient setting, such as living at home and being able to work and otherwise attend to daily responsibilities.

Addiction Rehab Treatment for Veterans

After returning home, many veterans struggle to adjust to the demands of civilian life. Employment concerns, financial problems, marital conflicts, physical pain, and unresolved psychological trauma can all contribute to substance misuse. The good news is rehab treatment services are available through government-sponsored facilities and private treatment centers that specialize in addressing the needs of the military.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides treatment for veterans who suffer from alcohol or drug dependence or misuse. Whether you need group, individual, outpatient, or residential inpatient therapy and rehabilitation, the VA offers these services throughout the country. VA medical centers offer substance misuse treatment for eligible veterans, which may include:9,10

  • Evidence-based therapies: Among the most effective treatments for SUDs, evidence-based therapies may include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement therapy (EMT), and motivation interviewing (MI).
  • Medications for addiction treatment: A substance use disorder is a chronic disease that can be treated with medication to reduce cravings and prevent relapse.
  • Supportive therapy. In addition to the above therapies, VA offers other supportive therapy options such as residential programs, supported work settings, and talk therapy.

While some veterans find support in VA rehabilitation services, others prefer to seek treatment at private facilities. Private rehabilitation programs may be costlier than VA substance misuse treatment, which may be covered by your military benefits. However, if you feel that you may have a better chance of successful recovery in a private setting, the extra expense will be worthwhile. Nothing is more important than getting your life back after battling the disease of addiction.

Rehab Treatment for Active Military Personnel

Alcohol and drug rehabilitation services are available through each of the five branches of the U.S. Military. Because drug and alcohol use can affect judgment and impair performance, substance misuse in active military personnel is seen as a threat to national security. The possession, use, distribution, or manufacture of illegal substances is strictly prohibited under military law. Active military personnel are encouraged to self-report problems with drug or alcohol misuse to receive medical treatment right away. Each branch of the military makes it a priority to prevent and treat substance misuse in active-duty service members:

Finding Military Rehabilitation for Addiction

American Addiction Centers (AAC) has rehab facilities with programs that cater to military personnel and veterans, which can provide specialized treatment services for those who have served in the military. Our rehab directory can help you search through treatment providers throughout the United States including facilities in CaliforniaNew JerseyFlorida, and Texas.

Getting Addiction Help in a Military Rehab

Asking for help is not always easy, especially when you have been trained to display strength and courage under the worst of circumstances. We can put you in touch with addiction professionals who understand that military service members and veterans need unique services in recovery.

American Addiction Centers is a leading provider of inpatient and outpatient rehab treatment services. AAC is committed to supporting those struggling with addiction on their journey to recovery. If you are looking for information on addiction treatment, you can contact us 24/7 at or fill out the form below to check if your insurance will cover the cost of treatment.

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