Substance use, trauma, mental health disorders, and more are all common experiences among veterans of the armed forces. Pursuing detox and residential treatment to address these needs is paramount for veterans as they work to establish sobriety and transition to their new civilian lives. However, there can be many barriers in place for veterans, and families, friends, and loved ones of veterans are instrumental in facilitating the pursuit of effective treatment. Supporting veterans in their journey through detox and residential treatment can not only facilitate breaking through unnecessary and difficult barriers but also support their transformative potential inside and outside of a treatment facility. 

The Barriers to Veterans Pursuing Treatment

While professional treatment to address addiction, trauma, PTSD, and more can be necessary for veterans, that doesn’t mean all veterans will approach recovery in the same way. There is nothing easy about taking that first step toward change and a sober future. As a result, many veterans can feel uncertain, reserved, or even resistant to the idea of professional treatment. Knowing the barriers that veterans face in their pursuit of a sober and healthy future is necessary for supporting veterans as they take their first step into detox or residential care. 

Harbored Vulnerability

First, many veterans may feel reluctant to admit how these personal challenges continue to affect them in civilian life.  Exposure to military culture can make it difficult for many veterans or active service members to open up about emotional needs or challenges. Expressing feelings of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more can feel as if a person is somehow “weak,” which can lead to the denial of these feelings or the use of drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. Others may harbor these feelings until lashing out in angry outbursts or other self-destructive behaviors. Overcoming these notions and addressing the culture that informs such a mentality is necessary to facilitate this change. 

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Identifying Trauma, PTSD, and Addiction in Veterans

Veterans face a constant battle with trauma, PTSD, and addiction. Learn to identify warning signs by calling Hawaii Island Recovery at (866) 390-5070.

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Feelings of Isolation

Veterans may also have reservations about how recovery could actually address their situation. It is common for veterans to feel disconnected from others in civilian life due to the difference in culture, experiences, and mentalities that separate military personnel and civilians. These feelings of isolation can inform their approach to professional recovery, with uncertainties if their needs would be understood and properly addressed. 

Addiction Stigma

Lastly, the stigmas surrounding words like “addiction” and “recovery” can cause veterans to worry about how pursuing detox or residential treatment may affect their image. Veterans are often saddled with imagery of heroism, bravery, and more. While veterans are deserving of such words, constantly expecting an individual to embody these words can be detrimental if an individual feels they must compromise their own needs to maintain them. Supporting veterans in their pursuit of effective treatment involves challenging these mentalities and stigmas to facilitate an openness to detox and residential care. 

Strategies for Supporting Veterans Beginning Their Journey

Detox and residential care are commitments with an individual spending time away from family and engaging in an entirely new lifestyle and environment. Receiving professional care, exploring new therapeutic strategies, and navigating challenging withdrawal symptoms are all part of the recovery process. It is common for supports to want to do anything possible to facilitate this healing and change. Fortunately, there are strategies that supports can use to help veteran loved ones take this first step toward recovery from addiction and mental health disorders that continue to impact daily life. 

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Become Educated

Education is a powerful tool for fostering communication and understanding. Familiarizing oneself with the signs and symptoms of PTSD, addiction, survivor’s guilt, and more can all help best support veterans in the most effective way. For some, supports can use this education to foster communication, helping veterans feel more heard or understood and opening an honest dialogue about personal challenges. Education can also help loved ones talk to veterans about these programs, destigmatizing words like “detox” and “treatment” to help veterans better embrace the advantages of these programs and set realistic expectations for their engagement.

Embrace Understanding and Forgiveness

Addiction is a devastating disease, especially when continually informed by trauma, PTSD, and other mental health disorders that veterans commonly face. Talking to veteran loved ones about their use can be incredibly difficult, and often met with resistance. However, approaching the idea of detox and residential care for veteran loved ones is still possible, and addressing the topic in an atmosphere of understanding and forgiveness, rather than blame, is necessary. Addiction is a disease, and separating the person and the disease that impacts them is necessary for speaking to veteran loved ones without harboring blame or resentment. 

Talking about addiction or trauma as its own entity instead of an innately ingrained part of a veteran loved one’s identity can help veterans explore these differences themselves. Additionally, it can make the role of treatment more clear in the development of a healthier life. 

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Residential Detox Programs vs. Outpatient Treatment

To learn about detoxing, residential and outpatient programs, and which treatments may work best for you, call Hawaii Island Recovery today at (866) 390-5070.

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Supporting Veterans by Changing the Environment

Detox and residential treatment can be wholly transformational experiences, and supporting veterans through these programs means also ensuring that these changes are sustainable upon their completion. Amending home atmospheres to be devoid of drugs, alcohol, and other reminders of substance use, or repurposing certain rooms to accommodate new hobbies and interests can all empower veterans in recovery to maintain the changes made while engaged in drug and alcohol inpatient treatment centers without experiencing the stresses of past use. 

Veterans of the armed forces can benefit greatly from the professional and educated care of dedicated veteran programs, from detox and residential care to ongoing outpatient support. At Hawaii Island Recovery, our inclusive and comprehensive approach to recovery at our drug and alcohol inpatient treatment centers is prepared to address the challenges of veterans for a healthy approach to detox, residential, and outpatient care. We combine proven therapies with the unique advantages of Hawaii, personalizing your practices with culture and spiritual healing through community engagement and dedicated, trauma-informed care. For more information on how we can help you or your veteran loved one take their first step toward sobriety, call to speak to us today at (866) 390-5070.