Fighting Addiction Among Veterans

The Livengrin Approach

Addiction among veterans is a very real, extremely widespread problem in the US. An estimated one in every ten to fifteen veterans suffers from a substance use disorder or addiction.[1] The prevalence of this disease in this population has been referred to as a silent pandemic.

We are taking action to combat this, but the approach may be different than what meets the eye.

Because the conditions faced in the service are so different than any other environment – often including very traumatic and life-threatening experiences, to provide adequate treatment, a provider must be well acquainted with culture and conditions in the service, aware of effective treatment methods, and knowledgeable of the epidemiology of this condition. Without a trained staff delicately balancing each piece of the puzzle, recovery would not be possible.

For example, it is important to understand how PTSD affects veterans. It is commonly known that many veterans suffer from PTSD. However, not many people are aware that that the number of Veterans with PTSD varies by service era:

  • About 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans (or between 11-20%) who served in OIF or OEF have PTSD in a given year.
  • About 12 out of every 100 Gulf War Veterans (or 12%) have PTSD in a given year.
  • About 15 out of every 100 Vietnam Veterans (or 15%) were currently diagnosed with PTSD at the time of the most recent study in the late 1980s, the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS). It is estimated that about 30 out of every 100 (or 30%) of Vietnam Veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime. [2]

This is important in understanding addiction rates and recovery because the prevalence of PTSD is directly correlated with co-occurring substance abuse disorders. Among recent Afghanistan and Iraq veterans, 63% diagnosed with SUDs also met criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).[3]

To best facilitate individual recovery, statistics like these need to be considered to account for both population trends and co-occurring mental or physical health issues that may need to be treated at the same time. This is why Livengrin provides a full continuum of care for drug and alcohol addiction, traumatic stress and PTSD.

Livengrin Military Veterans Treatment Program is directed by those closely affected by the stressors of military life. The program’s director and trauma therapist are both military veterans with experience transitioning into civilian life. Additionally, the program includes a Veteran peer support staff who understand the complexities of transitioning from military to civilian life as well as the journey into sobriety.Detox, residential, partial hospitalization program (PHP), Intensive outpatient (IOP), and outpatient (OP) treatments are available for all levels of need.

For more veteran-specific information, reach out to Livengrin at 215-638-5200 or at info@livengrin.org

[1] https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/commonveterans.asp

 

[2] https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_veterans.asp

 

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5587184/

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