Treatment for Retired Veterans

Treatment for retired veterans can be difficult, but it is always possible. Learn how retired veterans can challenge addiction and trauma at (866) 390-5070.

The veteran community consists of people who have served across many wars and deployments. From those who served in World War II and the Korean War to the Gulf War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, veterans carry a wide array of experience. Many veterans today continue to carry the effects of military life into retirement. Addiction and mental health disorders stemming from a person’s time in service affect veterans of any age. However, retired veterans are in a unique position regarding their recovery needs. It is never too late for retired veterans to pursue a life of sobriety or challenge the effects of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Finding effective treatment for retired veterans is always possible, and Hawaii Island Recovery can help. 

Retired Veterans Across the Country

Veterans consist of people of all ages, races, sexes, and demographics. However, retired veterans make up a large portion of the veteran community, with the average age of veterans being about 58 years old. In fact, only about 21% of the veteran population is estimated to be under 45 years old, with about 41% being between the ages of 45 and 65 and about 37% being 65 and older, according to the National Survey of Veterans conducted in 2001. 


While retired veterans have typically served at least 20 years in service to their country on either active or reserve duty, retired veterans also include those who incurred injury or medical discharge from their time in service, regardless of the number of years served. Of the nearly 18 million veterans across the United States, many are retired, making addressing the needs of this population paramount. 

The Unique Challenges of Retired Veterans

Retired veterans face a number of unique challenges, from addiction and trauma to mental health disorders. However, it is also incredibly difficult for retired veterans to deconstruct the pervasive stigmas and barriers to effective treatment. Understanding the challenges faced by retired veterans can empower each individual to take their own recovery and health into their own hands, with Hawaii Island Recovery committed to serving this widespread and important community. 

Addiction Among Veterans

The use of drugs and alcohol among veterans is common, and retired veterans can be in a unique position when addressing addiction. For some, pervasive drinking cultures across the military can permeate into civilian life, with the intense use of alcohol being common and dangerous among retired veterans. Others may feel the use of drugs is necessary to placate traumatic experiences, flashbacks, or otherwise quell feelings of anxiety that persist from one’s time in an active warzone. From the use of prescription painkillers to ease chronic pains to the use of addictive substances to self-medicate mental health disorders, addiction is too common across all ages of the veteran population. 

Trauma on Active Duty

Even if it has been years since one has been on active duty or deployed on tour, the effects of each veteran’s experience can still be present. It is common for the traumas veterans experience to continue impacting their mental and emotional health, even into retirement. PTSD and other anxiety disorders are common and don’t always get easier with time. Rather, trauma can continue to impact a veteran’s daily life until addressed, informing their decisions, behaviors, and daily routine. However, it is never too late to pursue change, and retired veterans can still benefit from dedicated recovery programs to address the effects of trauma from their time in service. 

Creating a Civilian Identity

Retired veterans also face unique challenges when transitioning to civilian life. For many retired veterans, positive self-esteem can feel enigmatic, while others may feel ostracized from the communities they have spent years protecting. One’s unique life experiences, values, and perspective can all make it difficult to connect with peers in civilian life. Others may feel that they have missed out on key life experiences as a result of their time in service, and these feelings can persist into retirement. 


Retired veterans not only face the trials of transitioning to civilian life but also in finding a community where they feel understood and accepted. Military life can have a very structured regiment, with clear roles and missions providing a crystalline sense of purpose. However, civilian life may lack these same structures, making it difficult for veterans to find their same footing in retirement. Locating and engaging with dedicated communities is paramount for retired veterans to challenge pervasive feelings of isolation in civilian life.

Finding Treatment for Retired Veterans

Veterans of all ages face a unique set of challenges. However, retired veterans can also be met with the challenges of their age, and it is common to feel that it is somehow “too late” for effective treatment. Finding the right community for effective treatment is necessary. Hawaii Island Recovery not only provides this kind of dedicated, veteran-specific care but introduces retired veterans to a community of peers to create the sense of camaraderie and understanding necessary to overcome the effects of addiction, trauma, and mental health disorders. 

Creating Your Treatment Plan

From overcoming addiction to challenging PTSD, depression, and more, creating an effective treatment plan for retired veterans is paramount. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we blend your personal needs and goals with our established veteran programming, helping you create a treatment plan that addresses your needs for addiction and mental health recovery, social needs, spiritual needs, and much more. We believe that it is never too late for celebrated retired veterans to pursue a healthier, happier life.