Finding Freedom for Veterans

For many of us, the Fourth of July holiday is a celebration we look forward to. Cookouts, fireworks, and time off work has us excited to celebrate our freedom and the nation’s birthday. For those who fought to secure those freedoms, however, Independence Day may be difficult—a flood of painful memories and reminder of those who never made it home.

This page will discuss the difficulties Veterans face, including substance misuse and PTSD, and will share the many treatment options available to help.

The Battle After the Battle

while sitting in a field, a veteran soldier struggles with ptsd and substance abuse

The life of a Veteran can be difficult. They head off to battle, full of hope, with a desire to protect our country and make a difference. However, too often, they return as a broken, misplaced remnant of who they once were.

For Veterans, the battle doesn’t stop once they are off the field. Memories of fallen friends, flashbacks, nightmares, and physical pain continue to plague both mind and body long after the war is won.

On top of leaving the service, Veterans also find themselves having to completely rewire their way of thinking to rejoin civilian life. Veterans have to make a difficult transition from military life, which is very structured with a clear chain of command, back to daily civilian life that is much less structured and may feel chaotic and overwhelming.

Life in service can put individuals at high risk for developing substance use and other mental health disorders, making it difficult to:

  • Manage a work/life balance.
  • Protect against stress-related disorders.
  • Identify the impacts of their military service on self and family.
  • Connect with the emotions of others.
  • Recognize the beginning stages of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Military training involves a complete remaking and rebuilding as a soldier during basic training. Veterans have been trained to act and react without hesitation, going against every moral compass you have for the protection of your nation’s people.

Unlike the popular video games, this call of duty doesn’t have a simple reboot to the world. Life for those in the services changes drastically in short amounts of time and the mind cannot always keep up.

Substance Misuse and PTSD

For many Veterans, they find escape from their trauma and PTSD through alcohol and substances. They may find they cannot even sleep, relax or manage interactions without the comfort of a drug.

What seems like a welcome help, however, is actually doing more harm than good as Veterans keep to their training—not admitting weakness or the need for help, but rather maintaining the façade of strength at the cost of their mind.

Outcome studies have shown that PTSD not only affects those who serve, but their loved ones as well. They believe themselves to be “coping” with PTSD symptoms by drinking heavily, using drugs, or smoking too much. In truth, they are keeping themselves locked in a cycle, as PTSD and addiction are well-known allies.

The National Center for PTSD found the following:

  • Over 20% of Veterans who suffer from PTSD have co-occurring SUDs.
  • Approximately 30% of Veterans who seek addiction treatment also suffer from PTSD.
  • An estimated 10% of Veterans returning from war in Iraq and Afghanistan have a problem with drug or alcohol use.

The good news is that treatment works, and therapy can target both problems at the same time. Unfortunately, Veterans may hesitate to access treatment, afraid to admit they need help. They may also be unwilling to enter treatment with civilians who don’t understand their unique background and struggles.

Finding Hope Again

Our returning heroes don’t have to rely on drugs and alcohol to have a successful reintegration to life. Treatment options are available, targeted specifically to their needs and experiences.

Dual diagnosis programs—such as the Veterans program at Desert Hope—are designed for military Veterans and first responders whose lives have changed and become unmanageable due to substance use, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health issues.

Our treatment team utilizes proven treatment methods that are focused on resiliency and assist in developing solid strategies to promote positive decision-making and permanent healthy lifestyle changes.

Additionally, staff at Desert Hope will provide transportation to and from doctor’s appointments if needed.

Embedded in the Veterans program is the First Responder and Military Lifeline curriculum, which was created by American Addiction Centers in collaboration with Employment Assistance Professionals. The program includes the following topics:

  • First Responder and Military Culture.
  • The Hypervigilant Rollercoaster.
  • Character and Values.
  • Impact of Stress.
  • Post Traumatic Responses.
  • Family & Relationships.
  • Cognitive Distortions.
  • Needs in Recovery.

If you or a loved one is struggling this Independence Day, know that freedom is possible. At Desert Hope Treatment Center—a drug rehab in Las Vegas, NV—we specialize in effective addiction treatment for Veterans.

Learn more about inpatient drug and alcohol rehab, or the levels of addiction treatment offered as outpatient care, by calling a compassionate admissions navigator at . Our team is available 24/7 to answer your questions and help you with the rehab admissions process.

Desert Hope Treatment Center and all of the American Addiction Centers facilities are proud to be VA community care providers. You can instantly and securely .


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