Types of Rehab and Treatment Options for Veterans
If you are a veteran struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD), the first step toward recovery is to accept your condition. You can then seek help. Various treatment and rehab options are available, but for any of them to succeed, you’ll have to be honest and open about your substance use disorder.
When dealing with therapists, let them know how long your addiction has been ongoing, how you feel, and the drug(s) involved. Doing this will help the therapist design a personalized program for you. Additionally, you have to cooperate with your therapist in the treatment process.
If you have some serious injuries, had a stroke, or have undergone surgery, you may need specialized treatment alongside your therapies. Rehabilitation will offer you a medically controlled environment that hastens the healing process so you can relearn skills and regain the strength you lost. It will also help you find a way to perform duties you may find difficult at that moment.
Rehab Options for Veterans
There are three main types of rehabilitation for veterans: inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation, and ongoing treatment.
Inpatient rehabilitation is a treatment program in which you’ll receive care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in a hospital setting. The medical staff and therapists will supervise your treatment, offer guided therapies, and monitor your progress. Your therapist can recommend residential rehabilitation, long-term rehabilitation, or short-term inpatient rehabilitation. Residential rehabilitation is similar to inpatient rehabilitation, save for the fact that it takes place in a non-hospital setting.
The best-known long-term residential rehabilitation takes place in a community setup known as a TC (therapeutic community). You can stay in the community for up to one year, depending on your initial condition and recovery progress. TC will focus more on your resocialization so you can integrate well with your home community after treatment. You’ll be trained to socialize with the facility’s staff and other residents.
Remember that doctors view addiction as a psychological and social deficit, and your treatment will focus on developing your personal responsibility and accountability, as well as improving your productive life in the social context. Long-term residential rehabilitation is highly structured, with many activities geared towards helping you to examine your destructive behavior patterns, self-concepts, and damaging beliefs.
In the process, you can discard these behaviors and adopt more constructive and harmonious social behavior. Therapeutic communities offer personalized and comprehensive treatments, which may include support services such as employment training for clients.
If your doctor recommends short-term inpatient or residential treatment, you may spend no more than six weeks in the facility. Short-term rehabilitation programs are short but intensive. If your addiction has led to some injuries, you can benefit a lot from rehabilitation therapy.
The most common conditions treated in rehabilitation facilities include musculoskeletal and orthopedic injuries — tears, strains, sprains — or neurological injuries, such as spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, and multi-trauma injuries, caused by accidents. The objective of rehabilitation therapy is to ensure that clients leave the facility when they are both physically and mentally fit to continue with their normal life.
Outpatient Rehabilitation Programs
If your condition doesn’t warrant staying within the treatment facility, you can be allowed to live in your home as you receive treatment. Outpatient programs vary in intensity and the types of services offered. Low-intensity programs are suitable for people with strong social support systems because they are more or less like drug education. Intensive outpatient programs are suitable for clients with no social support systems.
Outpatient rehabilitation programs are more flexible than inpatient programs. In these programs, you can agree with your therapists to meet at specific times and dates on a regular basis. Some programs may require that you avail yourself at night or even on weekends. These programs are less intense, and you can attend them as an individual or with a group of other clients.
In addition to addiction issues, the programs can be designed to address other mental or medical issues. If you have other medical conditions that need treatment, your therapist may recommend an intensive outpatient program.
After completing your inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation program, there’s no guarantee that you’ll not relapse and slide back to drug use. For this reason, there’s a need for ongoing treatment.
Your therapist will suggest exercises and other activities you can do on your own to keep you on track. This will ensure your recovery is long-term. In some cases, the therapist may suggest that you join local communities of recovered addicts so you can encourage one another and keep yourselves off drugs. If you had surgery, your ongoing treatment might also include leg and trunk-strengthening exercises.
Treatments for Drug Addiction
When undertaking a rehabilitation program, your doctors and therapists will work on treating your addiction. The treatment method used varies from client to client, depending on individual needs. It’s upon the medical experts to choose the option that will help recover your physical and mental health faster and more effectively, based on the drug you are addicted to. The most common addiction treatment options offered in many facilities include:
Detoxification is the first step you’ll undergo in rehab. It involves safely getting rid of addictive substances in your body. This step must be undertaken gradually because you may suffer from unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, some of which can be life-threatening. Since detoxification doesn’t treat the root causes of addiction, it has to be used alongside other therapies that will address the causes of addiction.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
REBT addresses negative thoughts that lead you to use drugs. It’s a therapy that will also help you fight the feeling of defeat. REBT will help you appreciate the necessity of thinking rationally and helps you believe that you have the power to do so. It will also help you learn that rational thinking doesn’t relate to any external stressors or situations.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a broad therapy that can treat many types of addiction, including prescription drug addiction, alcohol addiction, food addiction among others. The objective of this therapy is to help clients identify triggers, recognize negative behaviors, and develop coping skills. CBT must be used alongside other therapies for it to be effective.
Contingency Management (CM)
Just like CBT, contingency management can also be used in the treatment of many types of addictions, including tobacco, narcotics, and alcohol. This therapy is used to reinforce positive thinking and behavior. It will provide you with practical techniques to maintain sobriety. It is the best therapy to fight relapses.
Occupational Therapy (OT)
Occupational Therapy is meant to assist you in participating in day-to-day activities or everyday occupations. Occupations are not just about your job or work but are also about recreational activities, everyday tasks, and self-care practices. If your addiction interferes with your work, this is the best therapy for you.
The main aim of this therapy is to help you do things that your addiction could not allow you to do, so you can lead a satisfying and independent lifestyle. OT will help you complete tasks, such as brushing your teeth, dressing, eating, and other activities that make your life complete. You may need OT if:
- You suffer from depression that has affected your coordination to the extent that you can’t even feed yourself, write well, or use a computer.
- You have lost the ability to hold objects. This is most common if you suffer from delirium tremens or an injury. The therapist will work with you to help restore your ability to hold objects.
- If you have had a spinal cord injury. The spinal cord is very important because it’s part of the central nervous system, which is crucial for movement and coordination. OT will provide you with techniques to move safely, so you don’t worsen your injuries.
- If you are a corporate professional, you may need OT to help you create a perfect work-life balance to maximize your health, reduce stress, or modify your work environment to optimize productivity.
- If you’ve suffered from a serious brain injury, you may need OT to restore your cognitive function.
Physical therapy may be necessary if you find it difficult to function normally or are experiencing pain that prevents you from living a normal life. Physical therapy aims to relieve pain, improve movement, and offer rehabilitation after surgery, injury, or stroke.
Injuries are very common with drug users, making physical therapy a very important component of addiction treatment. The therapy may help you learn how to use walking devices such as sticks, walkers, and crutches and also manage addiction-related illnesses such as heart problems.
The therapist will assess your mobility, posture, heartbeat, and balance, observe how you climb steps or walk, and then design a program to help ease your symptoms so you can regain your mobility or functionality. The common physical therapies include:
1. Burn care, splinting, casting, or use of splints or braces (orthotics)
2. Cardiovascular strengthening
3. Pain management
4. Gait and balance retraining
5. Practicing with wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes, and other devices that assist in balance and movement
6. Cold, heat, massage therapy, or ultrasound to relieve spasms and pain
7. Special stretches and exercises to help regain strength, improve mobility, and relieve pain
Speech therapy may be necessary if you have speech problems. It helps treat many speech-related issues, including voice and communication. After many years of drug use, you may find it difficult to communicate fluently and effectively. Speech therapy can help if you’ve suffered a stroke or if you have injuries in your neck or mouth.
A speech-language therapist will design a program for you that improves the mechanics associated with speech. Some of the activities you may find in this therapy include jaw exercises, tongue and lip exercises, and activities that strengthen your throat and mouth muscles. Illnesses or conditions that may necessitate speech therapy include:
- Feeding problems: difficulty with swallowing, eating, or drooling
- Fluency problems: stuttering or difficulty with speech flow
- Dysphagia: problems with swallowing
- Aphasia: a type of brain damage that causes a loss of ability to express oneself or understand speech
- Dyspraxia: problems with controlling muscles for coordination, movement, speech, or language
- Dyslexia: difficulty in reading fluently and accurately
Also known as the 12-Step Program, 12-Step Facilitation is a therapy that’s normally used to treat alcohol and drug abuse. Just as the name suggests, it’s a program that’s divided into 12 steps. It’s a group therapy program that will help you recognize that your addiction may lead to many negative consequences, some of which are physical, spiritual, emotional, or social. The dirty step in this treatment is acceptance.
Once you accept your condition, you can move to the next step, which requires you to surrender your life to a higher power that can help with your addiction. Eventually, you’ll be required to attend group meetings where recovering clients share their experiences and encourage one another. This treatment works well, explaining why recovery programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and facilities, such as Veterans Rehab use it.
Use of Medication
In some cases, behavioral therapies alone may not be sufficient for some clients. That’s why your therapist may prescribe certain medications. Some of these medications are formulated to alleviate addictive behaviors, improve mood, and reduce cravings. For example, lofexidine is an excellent drug for reducing cravings and alleviating withdrawal symptoms, especially in clients fighting opioid addiction. Another drug, called acamprosate, is excellent for reducing drinking habits.
Since your brain controls your breathing, anything that affects your brain may affect your respiratory system. When you can’t breathe well, your therapist can recommend respiration therapy. This procedure will help restore your breathing pattern to normalcy.
Neuropsychology focuses on cognitive processes, including abstract reasoning, problem-solving, attention, concentration, long-term memory, and short-term memory. When your addiction has compromised your brain functions, you may need this procedure to fire them up.
If you are struggling with drug addiction, it’s best to seek help from a reputable rehab such as Veteran Rehab; never try to go it alone. Talk to a therapist or a medical expert to help you on the journey to recovery. Treatments and therapies are available that can help alleviate your problem. Remember that whichever program your therapist recommends, your success will depend on your cooperation, commitment, and dedication.