Virtue Recovery Center Offering Veteran Rehab in Arizona
Veteran Rehab Services in Arizona from Virtue Recovery Center
Whether you’re just returning from active duty or your last tour ended years ago, service-related stress is a major concern for military personnel. Participating in active combat, witnessing natural disasters and losing fellow service members can all cause heightened stress levels, leading to substance use disorders or PTSD.
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Virtue Recovery Center
13951 W Meeker Blvd
Sun City West, AZ 85375
Drug and Alcohol Addiction in Veterans
Anyone can develop a substance abuse problem, but veterans have some unique experiences that make them more likely to drink excessively or use illicit drugs. Military personnel who sustain service-related injuries also have a higher risk of developing addictions to opioids and other prescription medications.
In the 2015 Health Related Behaviors Survey, less than 1% of active-duty military members reported illicit drug use within the previous year. This sounds promising, but the actual rate of drug abuse among active-duty military members may be much higher, as the survey relies on self-reporting. Respondents may have been afraid to be honest about their drug use because of concerns over how the information would be used. Additionally, the survey had a response rate of just 8.6%, indicating that many people who received the survey didn’t complete it.
The prevalence of drug use is higher among veterans, with 3.5% reporting they’d used marijuana within the previous year and 1.7% reporting they’d used other illicit substances during the same period.
Although it’s legal to drink alcoholic beverages, excessive alcohol use can have serious physical, psychological and legal consequences. Researchers estimate that 15% to 20% of active-duty service members engage in heavy drinking, which is defined as consuming five or more drinks at a time at least once per week. Heavy drinking is much more common in male service members than female service members.
Veterans are also more likely to use alcohol or engage in heavy drinking than civilians. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 56.6% of veterans surveyed reported using alcohol during a one-month period, with 7.5% of the respondents disclosing that they’d engaged in heavy drinking. In contrast, only 50.8% of the civilian population reported using alcohol during the same one-month period.
Risk Factors for Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Service members have an elevated risk of developing substance abuse problems due to the trauma they encounter in the line of duty. For example, combat veterans may witness the deaths of dozens or even hundreds of fellow service members or civilians. Military personnel may also be required to respond to terrorist attacks, natural disasters and other traumatic situations.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, many veterans with PTSD try to cope with their symptoms by drinking, misusing prescription drugs or engaging in illicit drug use. When a service member has PTSD and a substance use disorder at the same time, they’re said to have co-occurring disorders.
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Negative Effects of Substance Abuse
If you’ve been struggling with substance abuse, you know that it affects every facet of your life, from your overall health to your relationships with friends and family members.
Although cirrhosis is one of the most well-known physical effects of alcohol addiction, heavy drinking can affect many parts of your body. Binge drinking or drinking daily over a long period of time can cause irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), high blood pressure and a heart condition called cardiomyopathy.
Alcohol addiction has serious effects on the liver and pancreas, two key components of your digestive system. Chronic alcoholism may cause cirrhosis, a condition characterized by scarring of the liver. The scarring prevents the liver from working properly. Drinking heavily may also cause proteins to build up in the liver, a condition known as fibrosis.
Alcohol abuse may even lead to pancreatitis, a painful condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed. Because your pancreas produces enzymes used to break down food, pancreatitis interferes with digestion.
Drugs can affect almost any part of the body, especially if you take more than one drug at a time. It’s difficult to anticipate the severity of these side effects as your reaction to a drug depends on many factors, including how much you take, when you take it and whether you mix it with other substances.
Some of the most serious effects involve the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack and abnormal heart rhythm. Injecting drugs can also cause infections in the blood vessels and valves of the heart.
Using illicit drugs or misusing prescription drugs can also cause the following physical effects:
- Lung damage
- Difficulty breathing
- Abdominal pain
- Kidney damage
- Liver damage
Drug and alcohol use affects the way your brain communicates with the rest of your nervous system, changing the way you behave. Without addiction treatment, your drug and alcohol use may cause you to engage in risky behaviors, including drinking and driving, sharing needles with other drug users or having unprotected sex.
Using drugs and alcohol can also interfere with your ability to be productive. Many veterans with substance use disorders struggle to stay employed because their addictions make it difficult to show up at work on time and have positive relationships with coworkers. For veterans using their GI Bill benefits for education, substance abuse also makes it difficult to concentrate in class or focus on assignments at home, resulting in poor academic performance.
Substance abuse may also cause the following symptoms:
- Loss of interest in your hobbies
- Poor hygiene
- Sleep problems
- Mood changes
- Appetite changes
- Avoiding friends and family
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Veterans
If you have post-traumatic stress disorder, it can be difficult to return to civilian life. You may have flashbacks or other signs of trauma, but you’re still expected to hold down a job and maintain your personal relationships. In some people, a stress reaction doesn’t occur until months or even years after the traumatic event, which can make it even harder to get used to civilian life again.
Service-related stress reactions can cause difficulty sleeping, sudden bouts of anger, panic attacks, anxiety disorders and behavioral changes. These symptoms may worsen when you encounter certain triggers or on the anniversary of a traumatic event.
PTSD may also cause the following symptoms:
- Distressing memories
- Physical distress
- Negative thoughts
- Lack of interest in your favorite activities
- Memory problems
- Emotional detachment
- Feelings of shame or guilt
- Excessive drinking
- Risky behavior
Physical Trauma in Service Members
Serving in the military is mentally and physically demanding. Based on data from the 2010 Current Population Survey Veterans Supplement, 24% of veterans who served on active duty have some type of disability due to a service-related injury or medical condition. The Army Public Health Center also reports that almost 50% of service members sustain at least one injury each year.
Participating in combat increases the risk for several types of injuries, including shrapnel wounds, broken bones, third-degree burns, nerve damage, limb loss and spinal cord damage. Serving on active duty also exposes service members to harsh conditions, increasing the risk of heat stroke and respiratory problems.
Even if you don’t take part in active combat, serving in the military increases the risk for overuse injuries caused by repetitive motions. These injuries include stress fractures, strains and sprains. Carrying heavy equipment can also lead to back and shoulder injuries. Pain from these chronic injuries is one of the triggers that can lead to excessive drinking or drug use.
Traumatic Brain Injuries in Veterans
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) usually occurs when someone sustains a blow to the head. Members of the Armed Forces have a higher risk of TBI because they work under harsh conditions. Explosions, motor vehicle accidents and serious falls can all occur in the line of duty, resulting in a TBI that causes lasting effects.
The symptoms of TBI vary based on the severity of the injury. If you have a service-related TBI, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Hearing problems
- Mood changes
- Difficulty speaking
- Loss of taste or smell
Having a traumatic brain injury also increases the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in veterans. The risk is especially high in service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, as up to 23% of these men and women sustain some type of TBI in combat. Veterans with a moderate to severe TBI are more than twice as likely as veterans without TBI to die by suicide, making suicide prevention an important aspect of veteran health care.
The Importance of Residential Treatment
If you’re struggling with addiction, residential treatment is your best chance at a long-term recovery. Residential treatment is a little different from inpatient treatment because it occurs in a comfortable, homelike environment. In contrast, inpatient treatment occurs in a secure hospital unit, creating a clinical environment that can make it difficult to feel comfortable enough to share your experiences with others.
At Virtue Recovery Center, staff members have extensive experience working with veterans and first responders. Our addiction treatment program is customized to meet the needs of veterans with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries and chronic pain related to their service. Whether you need drug rehab or alcohol rehab, we can customize a treatment plan that meets your physical and emotional needs.
When you arrive at our treatment center, you’ll go through an intake process that helps us determine the best way to treat your addiction and any other mental health issues you have. We’ll discuss your military service, go over your medical history and ask questions about your substance use. With this information, we’ll tailor our alcohol and drug rehab program just for you.
Many veterans and first responders need medical detoxification (“detox”) before they receive therapy and other addiction treatment services. Detox is the process of eliminating alcohol, prescription drugs and illicit substances from your body. It typically lasts up to seven days, but it may take more or less time depending on how long you’ve been using and whether you have any health conditions that could affect the amount of time it takes your body to break down drugs and alcohol.
Once you complete detox, you’ll be ready for individual therapy, group therapy and other services offered by the staff at our treatment center. During individual therapy sessions, you’ll work through your trauma with a therapist who has extensive experience helping veterans and first responders with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries and substance abuse. Your therapist will work with you to develop healthy coping skills that can help you refrain from drug and alcohol use when you leave the treatment center.
Virtue Recovery Center also offers eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), a type of therapy that helps people with PTSD heal from their trauma. Therapists use proven EMDR processes to help veterans heal their traumatic wounds so they can begin living in the moment and enjoying all life has to offer.
When your residential addiction treatment comes to an end, you’ll have access to a variety of services designed to help you return to the community without relapsing. Your case manager will work with you to develop an aftercare plan that may include legal services, 12-step meetings and ongoing counseling, all of which can help you achieve long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.
Insurance Coverage for Substance Abuse Treatment
Many insurance companies cover addiction treatment and mental health services. Virtue Recovery Center accepts several national plans, including insurance provided by TriWest Healthcare Alliance, which helps the Department of Veterans Affairs carry out its Community Care programs for veterans. Virtue Recovery Center has also worked with Cigna, Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield to ensure patients get the addiction treatment and mental health care they need.
The Path to Lasting Recovery
If you’re ready to take control of your life, contact Virtue Recovery Center at (877) 244-3250 to have an admissions counselor verify your benefits and explain what to expect when you arrive at our addiction treatment center.