Drug Rehab for Veterans at Longbranch Recovery

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

Comprehensive Drug Addiction Treatment for Military Veterans at Longbranch Recovery

Are you a military veteran or the loved one of a veteran who is struggling with substance abuse? You’re not alone. At Longbranch Recovery, we understand the complex needs of veterans battling substance abuse. That’s why we have developed a comprehensive, evidence-based treatment program tailored specifically to the veteran population.

Our dedicated team of experienced professionals is committed to providing compassionate, individualized care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – as well as the unique experiences and traumas that often contribute to drug addiction among veterans.

The Troubling Statistics of Drug Use and Abuse Among Veterans

The prevalence of drug addiction among veterans is a growing concern, with substance use disorders affecting a significant portion of this population. According to Statista, 8.5% of U.S. veterans reported struggling with substance use disorders in 2020. Additionally, the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that nearly 1 in 10 veterans seeking first-time care from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a diagnosed substance use disorder.

High Rates of Drug Abuse Among Veterans

Drug abuse is a significant problem among the veteran population, with rates of substance use disorders consistently higher than those found in the general public. Studies have shown that veterans are at a higher risk of developing drug addiction due to a variety of factors, including combat exposure, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain, and difficulty adjusting to civilian life. 

woman in the military field

Most Commonly Abused Substances

Veterans may struggle with addiction to a wide range of substances, but some of the most commonly abused drugs include:

  • Prescription opioids
  • Heroin
  • Stimulants
  • Alcohol

Understanding the most commonly abused substances among veterans is crucial for developing targeted prevention, intervention, and treatment strategies to address this growing problem.

Reasons for Substance Use Disorder Among Veterans

Traumatic Experiences During Service

One of the most significant contributing factors to drug addiction among veterans is exposure to traumatic experiences during military service. Combat exposure, witnessing the loss of fellow service members, and experiencing life-threatening situations can have a profound impact on an individual’s mental health. 

These traumatic events can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a known risk factor for substance abuse. Veterans may turn to drugs as a way to cope with the distressing symptoms of PTSD, such as intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and hypervigilance.

Health Issues 

Physical health problems, such as chronic pain and injuries sustained during military service, can also contribute to the development of drug addiction among veterans. Many veterans experience ongoing pain related to musculoskeletal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, or other service-connected health issues. In an effort to manage this pain, veterans may be prescribed opioid painkillers, which can be highly addictive. 

The chronic nature of these conditions can lead to long-term use of prescription opioids, increasing the risk of developing a substance use disorder.

Difficulty Adjusting to Civilian Life

The transition from military to civilian life can be a significant challenge for many veterans. After years of structure, camaraderie, and a clear sense of purpose, veterans may struggle to find their place in the civilian world. This difficulty in adjusting can lead to feelings of isolation, loss of identity, and a lack of meaning or direction in life. These emotional challenges can increase the risk of turning to drugs as a way to cope with the stress and uncertainty of this major life transition.

Financial Issues and Relationship Problems

Financial struggles and relationship problems can also contribute to the development of drug addiction among veterans. The transition to civilian employment can be difficult, and some veterans may face unemployment or underemployment, leading to financial strain. Additionally, the stresses of military life can take a toll on personal relationships, causing marital or family problems. 

These stressors can increase the likelihood of turning to drugs as a way to escape or cope with the challenges of daily life.

The Unique Needs of Veterans in Addiction Treatment

Trauma-Informed Approach

A trauma-informed approach is essential when treating veterans with drug addiction. This approach recognizes the widespread impact of trauma and seeks to create a safe, supportive environment that promotes healing and resilience. 

Trauma-informed care involves understanding the connection between trauma and substance abuse, and it emphasizes the importance of creating a sense of safety, trust, and empowerment in the therapeutic relationship. By addressing the underlying traumas that may contribute to drug addiction, treatment providers can help veterans develop healthier coping strategies and work towards lasting recovery.

Dual-Diagnosis Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Many veterans struggling with drug addiction also have co-occurring mental health disorders, such as PTSD, depression, or anxiety. Dual-diagnosis treatment is crucial for addressing both the substance use disorder and the underlying mental health concerns simultaneously. 

This integrated approach recognizes the complex interplay between addiction and mental health, and it ensures that veterans receive comprehensive care that addresses the full range of their needs. By treating co-occurring disorders in an integrated manner, treatment providers can help veterans achieve better outcomes and a more sustainable recovery.

confused men by drugs

Understanding Military Culture and Experiences

Effective addiction treatment for veterans requires a deep understanding of military culture and experiences. Treatment providers must be knowledgeable about the unique challenges and stressors of military life, as well as the values, norms, and language of the military community. 

This cultural competency allows providers to build trust, rapport, and credibility with veteran clients, and it ensures that treatment is delivered in a way that resonates with their experiences and worldview. By demonstrating an understanding and appreciation of military culture, treatment providers can create a more welcoming and relevant therapeutic environment for veterans seeking help for drug addiction.

What Should Veterans Look for in a Drug Rehab Center?

Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-informed care is a critical component of effective drug rehab for veterans. Veterans should seek out treatment centers that prioritize creating a safe, supportive environment that promotes healing and resilience. This includes a focus on building trust, collaboration, and empowerment in the therapeutic relationship, as well as an understanding of the impact of trauma on substance use and mental health.

Dual-Diagnosis Treatment

Given the high rates of co-occurring mental health disorders among veterans with substance use disorders, it is essential to choose a rehab center that offers dual-diagnosis treatment. This integrated approach addresses both the drug addiction and any underlying mental health concerns simultaneously, ensuring that veterans receive comprehensive care that promotes long-term recovery.

Aftercare Planning

Comprehensive aftercare planning is essential for maintaining long-term recovery after completing a drug rehab program. Veterans should look for treatment centers that prioritize developing individualized aftercare plans, which may include ongoing therapy, support groups, and connections to community resources.

Types of Substance Abuse Treatments and Therapies for Veterans

Evidence-Based Practices 

Evidence-based practices form the foundation of effective substance abuse treatment for veterans. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a widely used approach that helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to drug use. 

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is another evidence-based treatment that focuses on developing skills for managing intense emotions, improving relationships, and tolerating distress. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a specialized treatment for trauma that can be particularly beneficial for veterans with PTSD and substance use disorders.

Holistic Approaches 

Holistic approaches to substance abuse treatment can complement evidence-based therapies by addressing the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and deep breathing exercises, can help veterans develop greater self-awareness, reduce stress, and manage cravings. Yoga and other forms of physical activity can promote relaxation, improve mood, and support overall physical health. Art therapy and other creative outlets can provide a non-verbal means of processing emotions and experiences related to addiction and military service.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an evidence-based approach that combines behavioral therapy with FDA-approved medications to treat substance use disorders. For veterans struggling with opioid addiction, medications such as buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone can help manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and prevent relapse. 

MAT can also be used to treat alcohol use disorders, with medications like disulfiram, acamprosate, and naltrexone. By incorporating MAT into a comprehensive treatment plan, rehab centers can provide veterans with a powerful tool for achieving and maintaining recovery.

Family Therapy and Support

Family therapy and support services are essential components of a comprehensive substance abuse treatment program for veterans. Addiction can have a profound impact on family relationships, and involving loved ones in the treatment process can help repair and strengthen these bonds. 

Introducing N.O.R.A. House: A Special Program for Veterans

happy family at the beach

Because “No One Recovers Alone”

The name “N.O.R.A. House” stands for “No One Recovers Alone,” reflecting our core belief that recovery is a journey best taken with the support and guidance of others. We recognize that many veterans may feel isolated or disconnected from civilian society, and our program aims to foster a sense of community and camaraderie that is essential for long-term recovery.

By creating a safe, supportive environment where veterans can connect with others who have shared similar experiences, we help them build the skills, confidence, and resilience needed to overcome addiction and reclaim their lives.

Features Program Features

Our N.O.R.A. House program offers a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to drug addiction treatment that is tailored to the unique needs of veterans. Key features of our program include:

  • Trauma-informed, dual-diagnosis approach: We recognize the significant impact of trauma on substance abuse and mental health, and our clinical team is trained in evidence-based practices to address both issues simultaneously.
  • Treating the whole person: body, mind, spirit, and family: Our holistic approach to treatment considers all aspects of a veteran’s well-being, including their physical health, emotional resilience, spiritual needs, and family relationships.
  • Licensed clinicians with expertise in veteran care: Our team of experienced professionals includes licensed clinicians who specialize in working with veterans and have a deep understanding of the unique challenges and experiences of this population.

Involving Family Members in the Treatment Process

At N.O.R.A. House, we believe that family involvement is a crucial component of the recovery process. We understand that addiction affects not only the individual but also their loved ones, and we strive to include family members in our treatment approach. Through family therapy sessions, educational workshops, and support groups, we help veterans and their families heal together, rebuild trust, and develop strategies for maintaining healthy, supportive relationships in recovery.

What Our Veterans Addiction Treatment Program Covers

Inpatient Drug Rehab and Residential Treatment

At Longbranch Recovery, we offer a range of treatment options to meet the diverse needs of veterans struggling with drug addiction. Our inpatient drug rehab and residential treatment programs provide a safe, structured environment where veterans can focus solely on their recovery without the distractions and triggers of everyday life. During this immersive experience, veterans participate in a variety of evidence-based therapies, holistic treatments, and educational sessions designed to help them develop the skills and strategies needed for long-term recovery.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

For veterans who have completed inpatient treatment or require a less intensive level of care, our partial hospitalization program (PHP) offers a structured, supportive transition back to daily life. In this program, veterans attend treatment sessions at our facility during the day and return home or to a sober living environment in the evenings. PHP allows veterans to practice their newfound recovery skills in real-world settings while still receiving the guidance and support of our clinical team.

Outpatient Treatment

Our outpatient treatment program is designed for veterans who have a stable living environment and a strong support system in place. This level of care allows veterans to continue their recovery journey while maintaining work, school, or family responsibilities. Outpatient treatment typically involves several therapy sessions per week, focusing on relapse prevention, coping skill development, and ongoing support for maintaining sobriety.

Post-Residential Treatment and Aftercare

At Longbranch Recovery, we understand that recovery is a lifelong journey that extends beyond the walls of our treatment center. That’s why we place a strong emphasis on post-residential treatment and aftercare planning. 

Our clinical team works closely with each veteran to develop a comprehensive discharge plan that includes ongoing therapy, support group involvement, and connections to community resources. We also offer alumni programming and events to help veterans stay connected with their recovery community and maintain their hard-earned progress.

Understanding VA Healthcare Changes and Insurance Coverage

Recent Changes in VA Healthcare and How They Affect Addiction Treatment

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has recently implemented several changes to its healthcare system that may impact veterans seeking addiction treatment. One significant change is the MISSION Act, which aims to expand access to care by allowing veterans to receive treatment from community providers outside of the VA system. 

men thinking an contemplating life

This change can be particularly beneficial for veterans who live in areas with limited VA resources or those who require specialized addiction treatment services not available at their local VA facility.

Another important development is the VA’s increased focus on integrating mental health and substance abuse treatment. The VA has recognized the high rates of co-occurring disorders among veterans and has taken steps to improve the coordination of care between mental health and addiction treatment providers. This shift towards a more holistic, integrated approach to treatment can lead to better outcomes for veterans struggling with both substance abuse and mental health concerns.

How Longbranch Recovery works with VA benefits and other insurance providers

At Longbranch Recovery, we are committed to making our specialized addiction treatment services accessible to as many veterans as possible. We work closely with the VA to ensure that our programs are covered by VA benefits, and our admissions team is well-versed in navigating the VA healthcare system to help veterans access the care they need.

In addition to VA benefits, we also work with a wide range of insurance providers to help veterans and their families secure coverage for treatment. Our admissions staff will work directly with veterans and their insurance companies to verify benefits, obtain pre-authorization, and minimize out-of-pocket expenses.