Alcohol Rehab for Active Duty Military Personnel

Author: Robert Rynfield | Clinical Reviewer: Emily Meyers, LPC | Editorial Policy Updated: June 14, 2024

Comprehensive Alcohol Addiction Treatment for Military Members at Longbranch Recovery

Are you or a loved one struggling with alcohol addiction while serving in the military? You’re not alone. The unique challenges and stressors faced by active-duty military personnel can make it difficult to cope, leading some to turn to alcohol as a way to manage their emotions. 

But there is hope: seeking help through a specialized alcohol rehab program for military service members can be the first step towards a healthier, more fulfilling life.

How Can Alcohol Rehab Help Military Service Members?

Benefits of Alcohol Rehab For Veterans

Alcohol rehab programs designed specifically for veterans understand the complex interplay between military service and addiction. These programs offer a safe, supportive environment where you can address the root causes of your alcohol use disorder, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and learn strategies to maintain long-term sobriety. By working with therapists and counselors who are well-versed in the unique challenges faced by military personnel, you’ll gain the tools and insights needed to overcome addiction and reclaim your life.

Military Alcohol Rehab at Longbranch Recovery

At Longbranch Recovery, we’re committed to providing compassionate, evidence-based care for active-duty military members struggling with alcohol addiction. Our specialized military rehab program is designed to meet the unique needs of those who have served our country, offering a comprehensive approach to treatment that addresses both addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. 

Our experienced team of clinicians and support staff work closely with each individual to develop a personalized treatment plan that incorporates proven therapies, holistic practices, and ongoing support to ensure long-term success in recovery.

What are the Common Challenges Faced by Military Personnel in Seeking Alcohol Rehab?

military camp man struggling with mental health

Despite the numerous benefits of alcohol rehab, many military service members face significant challenges when it comes to seeking treatment. These barriers can prevent individuals from getting the help they need, prolonging the cycle of addiction and its devastating consequences.

Stigma Surrounding Substance Abuse in the Military

One of the most significant challenges faced by military personnel is the stigma associated with substance abuse and mental health issues. The military culture often emphasizes strength, resilience, and self-reliance, which can make it difficult for individuals to admit they need help. Many fear that seeking treatment will be seen as a sign of weakness or that it will negatively impact their career prospects.

Barriers to Accessing Addiction Treatment for Military Members

In addition to the stigma, military service members may face logistical barriers to accessing alcohol rehab. Deployment, frequent relocations, and demanding schedules can make it challenging to find the time and resources needed to seek treatment. Some may also worry about confidentiality and the potential repercussions of disclosing their addiction to superiors or colleagues.

Understanding the Unique Stressors Faced by Active Duty Military Personnel

To fully comprehend the challenges of alcohol addiction among military members, it’s essential to recognize the unique stressors they face. These stressors can contribute to the development of alcohol use disorders and make it more difficult for individuals to seek help.

Deployment and Combat-Related Stress

One of the most significant stressors faced by active-duty military personnel is deployment and combat-related stress. The intense emotional and physical demands of serving in a war zone can take a heavy toll on an individual’s mental health. Exposure to life-threatening situations, witnessing violence and death, and being separated from loved ones for extended periods can all contribute to the development of alcohol abuse as a coping mechanism.

Difficulty in Transitioning Between Military and Family Life

Another unique stressor faced by military members is the challenge of transitioning between military and family life. The constant shifts between the highly structured, high-pressure environment of the military and the responsibilities of home life can be difficult to navigate. This struggle to find balance can lead to feelings of disconnection, anxiety, and depression, which may drive some individuals to seek solace in alcohol.

Signs of Alcoholism Among Military Members

Recognizing the signs of alcohol addiction is crucial for military members and their loved ones. By identifying the problem early on, individuals can seek the help they need before the addiction escalates and causes significant harm to their health, relationships, and career.

Active Duty Military Personnel and Binge Drinking

woman engaged to man who works in the army

One of the most common signs of alcohol abuse among active-duty military personnel is binge drinking. Binge drinking is defined as consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short period, typically leading to intoxication. For men, this means having five or more drinks within two hours, while for women, it’s four or more drinks within the same timeframe. Binge drinking can be particularly dangerous, as it increases the risk of accidents, injuries, and poor decision-making.

Other signs of alcohol addiction among military members may include:

  • Drinking alone or in secret
  • Neglecting responsibilities at work or home due to alcohol use
  • Experiencing frequent hangovers or blackouts
  • Continuing to drink despite negative consequences
  • Developing a tolerance to alcohol, requiring more to achieve the desired effect
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, such as shakiness, irritability, or anxiety

If you or someone you know is exhibiting these signs, it’s essential to seek help from a specialized alcohol rehab program that understands the unique needs of military personnel.

Military Personnel and Co-Occurring Disorders

When addressing alcohol addiction among active-duty military personnel, it’s crucial to recognize the high prevalence of co-occurring mental health disorders. These disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety, can complicate the recovery process and require specialized treatment approaches.

The Link Between PTSD and Alcohol Abuse Among Military Members

PTSD is a common mental health disorder among military members, particularly those who have experienced combat or other traumatic events during their service. Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, nightmares, hypervigilance, and emotional numbing. Many individuals with PTSD turn to alcohol as a way to cope with these distressing symptoms, leading to a dangerous cycle of addiction and worsening mental health.

Research has shown that individuals with PTSD are more likely to develop alcohol use disorders compared to those without PTSD. In fact, studies estimate that up to 50% of individuals with PTSD also struggle with alcohol addiction. This highlights the importance of addressing both disorders simultaneously in treatment to ensure the best possible outcomes for military members seeking recovery.

What are the Specific Considerations for Active-Duty Military in Alcohol Rehab Programs?

When military members seek help for alcohol addiction, it’s essential that they find a rehab program that understands and addresses their unique needs. Specialized military alcohol rehab programs, like the one offered at Longbranch Recovery, take into account the specific challenges and considerations faced by active-duty personnel.

worn flag of the united states army

Treatment Approaches Tailored for Armed Force Personnel

One of the key considerations for active-duty military in alcohol rehab is the need for treatment approaches that are tailored to their specific experiences and challenges. This may include therapies that address the impact of deployment, combat stress, and the transition between military and civilian life. Rehab programs should also be sensitive to the military culture and the importance of building trust and rapport with clients who may be hesitant to open up about their struggles.

At Longbranch Recovery, our military rehab program incorporates evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), trauma-focused therapies, and group support, to help clients develop the skills and strategies needed for long-term recovery. We also offer holistic approaches, such as mindfulness and stress-reduction techniques, to support overall wellness and resilience.

Addressing Co-Occurring Mental Health Issues in Addiction Treatment

Another critical consideration for active-duty military in alcohol rehab is the need to address co-occurring mental health disorders. As discussed earlier, many military members struggling with alcohol addiction also face challenges with PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns. A comprehensive treatment program must be equipped to diagnose and treat these co-occurring disorders alongside the addiction.

At Longbranch Recovery, our experienced clinical team is well-versed in the assessment and treatment of co-occurring disorders. We utilize a dual-diagnosis approach, which means we treat both the addiction and the underlying mental health issues simultaneously. This integrated approach ensures that clients receive the full spectrum of care needed to achieve lasting recovery and improved overall well-being.

Types of Military Rehab Treatment Programs Used at Longbranch Recovery

At Longbranch Recovery, we understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating alcohol addiction among active-duty military personnel. That’s why we offer a range of evidence-based treatment programs designed to meet the unique needs of each individual who walks through our door

Evidence-Based Treatment Options for Active Duty Military

Our military rehab program incorporates a variety of evidence-based therapies that have been proven effective in treating alcohol addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. These therapies include:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT helps clients identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to their alcohol use. Through CBT, military members can develop healthy coping strategies and problem-solving skills to maintain sobriety.
  • Trauma-Focused Therapies: Trauma-focused therapies, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy, are designed to help individuals process and heal from traumatic experiences. These therapies can be particularly beneficial for military members with PTSD.
  • Group Support: Group therapy provides a safe and supportive environment for military members to share their experiences, challenges, and successes with others who understand their unique perspective. At Longbranch Recovery, we offer specialized groups for military personnel, allowing them to build camaraderie and a strong support network.
  • Family Therapy: Addiction affects not only the individual but also their loved ones. Our family therapy program helps military members and their families heal and strengthen their relationships, providing a solid foundation for long-term recovery.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Alcohol Rehab Programs

Longbranch Recovery offers both inpatient and outpatient alcohol rehab programs for active-duty military personnel. The choice between inpatient and outpatient care depends on the individual’s specific needs, the severity of their addiction, and their personal circumstances.

Inpatient rehab provides a structured, immersive environment where clients can focus solely on their recovery without the distractions and triggers of everyday life. This level of care is often recommended for individuals with severe addictions or those who have struggled to maintain sobriety in the past.

Outpatient rehab, on the other hand, allows clients to continue living at home and fulfilling their work or family obligations while receiving treatment. This option may be suitable for military members with mild to moderate addictions or those who have a strong support system in place.

Regardless of the level of care, all of our programs are tailored to meet the unique needs of military personnel and are delivered by a team of experienced, compassionate professionals who are dedicated to helping clients achieve lasting recovery.

The Importance of Aftercare and Ongoing Support for Military Personnel in Recovery

Recovery from alcohol addiction is a lifelong journey, and the work doesn’t end when a military member completes a rehab program. Aftercare and ongoing support are essential components of long-term success, helping individuals navigate the challenges of maintaining sobriety while reintegrating into their daily lives.

Developing a Strong Support Network Post-Rehab

One of the most critical aspects of aftercare for military personnel is developing a strong support network. This may include ongoing therapy sessions, regular check-ins with a sponsor or mentor, and participation in support groups specifically for veterans or active-duty military members in recovery.

At Longbranch Recovery, we understand the importance of this ongoing support. Our aftercare program includes alumni events, online support groups, and access to resources that help military members stay connected to a community of individuals who understand their unique challenges and successes.

Engaging in Sober Activities and Hobbies

life after recovering from addictions

Another key component of successful long-term recovery is finding new, healthy activities and hobbies to replace the role that alcohol once played in an individual’s life. For military members, this may involve exploring new ways to cope with stress, such as exercise, meditation, or creative pursuits.

Engaging in sober activities not only helps individuals maintain their sobriety but also allows them to rediscover a sense of purpose and fulfillment outside of their military service. At Longbranch Recovery, we encourage our clients to develop a balanced, holistic approach to recovery that nurtures their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

By prioritizing aftercare and ongoing support, military personnel in recovery can build the skills, strategies, and connections needed to maintain long-term sobriety and lead a fulfilling, meaningful life.