Veterans who have dedicated their lives to their country often exit military service with both physical and emotional scars. To cope with the challenges they bravely faced, some may turn to substances. Unfortunately, this can easily evolve into a pattern of chronic substance abuse. The best way to break this cycle may involve attending an alcohol and drug detox for veterans.
Even beyond addiction, the current state of veteran mental health leaves much to be desired. Our service members and their families deserve quality mental health care, and for many, that starts at treatment centers like Georgetown Behavioral Hospital. To learn more about how we can help, keep reading.
Substance Use Disorder in Veterans
Veterans and military personnel are more likely to develop substance use disorders and other mental health issues than their civilian counterparts. In fact, more than one in ten veterans meet the criteria for a substance use disorder. But why is that? What pushes the need for an alcohol and drug detox for veterans?
One of the biggest components driving veteran mental health issues involves trauma. During their time in the military, veterans are at a high risk of living through a traumatic event of some kind. For example, veterans who have experienced combat exposure, military sexual trauma (MST), or survivor’s guilt are likely to live with the impact of those events for a long time.
As a result, they may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain, or complicated grief. Once that happens, some veterans turn to substances as a means of coping with their symptoms. For instance, alcohol can distract them from their past memories, while opioid medications may alleviate their physical aches.
However, this form of self-medicating is unhealthy and unsustainable. Substance abuse is a progressive problem, meaning it will only worsen as time goes on. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to seek professional help from rehab centers as soon as possible. In the beginning, that help will often take the form of an alcohol or drug detox for veterans.
The Necessity of Alcohol and Drug Detox
The reason addiction recovery often starts with an alcohol or drug detox for veterans involves two main concepts: tolerance and dependence. When someone consistently takes a substance, their body builds up a tolerance for it. This means they need to use a higher amount of the same substance to achieve the same effect as before.
Likewise, as someone continues to use a substance, their body can grow physically dependent on it. In other words, the body becomes so used to the presence of drugs or alcohol in the bloodstream that it “forgets” how to function properly on its own.
As a result, when someone attempts to quit using drugs or alcohol, they throw their body out of balance. It works hard to re-learn how to function without the substance, but in the process, it may trigger unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- Dry mouth
- Drug or alcohol cravings
- Muscle pain
- Elevated heart rate
- High blood pressure
In rarer cases, withdrawal can also manifest in more severe ways. For instance, there is a small chance someone could experience seizures, hallucinations, delirium, or coma. Furthermore, symptoms like high blood pressure can lead to additional complications if not treated in a timely manner.
For these reasons, mental health professionals advise against detoxing at home. Instead, consider a medical alcohol and drug detox for veterans. A medical detox is a professional program designed to keep individuals safe and comfortable throughout the withdrawal process.
Benefits of Medical Detox
There are several reasons why a medical alcohol and drug detox for veterans is a better choice than an at-home detox. The first, as mentioned above, involves patient safety. Detox complications such as seizures can put someone’s physical well-being at risk. If they detox at home, they may not have the knowledge or tools to prevent such complications.
A medical detox removes many of those risks. After all, it places patients under 24/7 medical supervision by a team of trained professionals. This team is licensed and experienced in identifying the early warning signs of detox complications. As such, they can take immediate action to mitigate and reverse any problems that occur.
Comfort is another reason why a medical alcohol and drug detox for veterans is a good choice. While milder symptoms like sweating and fatigue are unlikely to be life-threatening, they are still uncomfortable to deal with. Just as a medical detox team can prevent serious complications, they can also do what they can to soothe minor symptoms as well.
Finally, a medical detox eliminates the risk of relapse during the withdrawal process. Those who detox at home may decide that withdrawal symptoms are too unpleasant to bear. They may relapse in an attempt to escape withdrawal. However, that isn’t an option at medical treatment facilities. They make it far easier to commit to detoxing by removing easy access to substances.
What Comes After Alcohol and Drug Detox?
Typically, detox is only the first step to overcoming substance use disorders. After attending an alcohol or drug detox for veterans, someone may still need to confront the mental impacts of addiction. Veterans seeking additional treatment can find the help they need through a therapeutic recovery program.
During addiction rehab, patients participate in a variety of evidence-based treatment options, including:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
- Integrated group therapy
- Family counseling
- Life skills training
- Recreational therapy
- Relapse prevention planning
- Discharge planning
Furthermore, at Georgetown Behavioral Hospital, we understand that addiction often goes hand-in-hand with other mental health conditions. Because of this, our addiction program specializes in dual diagnosis, or the treatment of co-occurring mental health disorders.
Attend an Alcohol and Drug Detox for Veterans
Georgetown Behavioral Hospital is a mental health and addiction treatment center in Ohio. If you or a member of your family is a veteran struggling with substance use disorder, consider our veteran rehab. Through the treatment programs discussed above, we help veterans learn to cope with their symptoms and transition back to everyday life.
To learn more about our alcohol and drug detox for veterans, give us a call. You can reach a member of our team at 937-483-4933. If you have additional questions or need more time to organize your thoughts, you may also submit a confidential contact form through our website.
Remember that addiction does not have to control your life forever. With access to the right resources, you can develop the skills you need to successfully manage your substance use. At Georgetown Behavioral Hospital, we make the dream of long-term sobriety into reality.