Resources for Veterans Dealing With Addiction
Many veterans face problems with alcohol or substance abuse, but there are many resources where they — and their families — can get help, advice, and support.
This page contains links not only to leading resources for veterans’ addiction issues but also to resources for underlying conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mental health illnesses.
Crisis Lines for Veterans
A number of crisis lines have been set up for veterans nationwide to provide support and advice for any issues they face, including problems with addiction.
Veterans’ Crisis Line: This is the main crisis line for veterans in the United States, but it is also for friends and family members of veterans as well. You can call the toll-free hotline (800) 273-8255 to speak to responders from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and you can also text 838255 and use the online chat. The website also provides information on spotting the warning signs of addiction and more.
Military Helpline: This helpline is run by Lines for Life, and it operates 24 hours a day to provide free and confidential support to people in the military and veterans who are facing mental difficulties, including suicidal thoughts. It is staffed by people with experience of military life, including other veterans. The number is (888) 457-4838, and the text service can be accessed by texting MIL1 to 839863.
Resources for Female Veterans
Female veterans often suffer from addictions due to mental health problems and other related issues. These resources are specifically for them.
WomensHealth.gov: Here you can find a detailed section on substance abuse for women veterans including problems with alcoholism and addictive behaviors.
Women Veterans and Mental Health: In this section on the WomensHealth.gov website, you will find a wide range of information relating to mental health for female veterans. Mental health is often an underlying cause of addiction, and this site provides information on issues like PTSD and sexual trauma alongside substance abuse.
Women Veterans Call Center: This is a service run by the VA especially for female veterans. You can call 1.855.VA.WOMEN to speak to the staff about any issues that you face, including problems with addiction.
Resources for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Problems with addiction in veterans are often related to other conditions, one of which is PTSD. These are among the best resources for veterans dealing with PTSD.
National Center for PTSD: Sponsored by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, this is a resource center for veterans packed full of information about PTSD, which is often a reason behind substance abuse in veterans. Here you can find out how to get help for this debilitating mental illness.
Understanding PTSD and PTSD Treatment: This is a booklet produced by HealthFinder.gov that provides facts and information about PTSD, covering the basics as well as treatment options.
Warrior Pose Article: This is a helpful Washington Post article focusing on the topic of veterans who are using yoga to help them overcome PTSD.
Rehabilitation and Treatment
Veterans suffering from addiction need to seek treatment, and the resources in this section provide guidance for finding the treatment they need.
Veterans Health Administration: Search the VA.gov website to find the nearest medical center for veterans in your area and across the country.
SAMHSA: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a behavioral health treatment services locator service. Use it to find treatment facilities near to you that provide care to veterans and civilians alike.
Alcohol and Drug Dependence Rehabilitation Program: Run by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA), this service provides a range of therapies for veterans who are dependent on alcohol or drugs, with various treatments available, including rehabilitation and psychiatric care.
SMART Recovery: This international program helps people affected by addictive behaviors and substance abuse, including problems with prescription drugs, gambling, and more. It provides both online and face-to-face meetings, and you can use the site to find meetups.
Veterans Alcohol and Drug Dependence Rehabilitation Program: Find out about the program run by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA). Focused on veterans who are alcohol and drug dependent, the site provides information for different types of treatment including rehabilitation. Treatment is provided in VA medical centers, and at this site, you can find out about the requirements.
Health Resources and Services Administration: Use this site to find health centers that are federally qualified all over the country. It provides health care as well as substance abuse services.
Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Program Locator: Use this interactive map on the VA.gov website to find your nearest program for substance abuse. You can search based on the type of treatment, such as inpatient or outpatient, and by state.
Narcotics Anonymous (NA): NA Provides meetups for people suffering from drug addiction. It is not specifically for veterans, but it provides help for anyone struggling through weekly meetings held all over the country.
Mental Health Resources
Many veterans suffer from co-occurring mental health issues alongside their addictions. If this sounds like a struggle you or a loved one is experiencing, these are some resources that can help.
NAMI Veterans Resource Center: The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a dedicated resource to help veterans and those serving in the military with mental health problems.
Vet Center: Vet Centers around the country help veterans integrate back into daily life after a deployment by providing counseling for individuals and groups. Find help for alcohol and drug addictions a well as PTSD and suicide prevention among others at a Vet Center near you.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): This institute is dedicated to improving the mental health of people across the country, including veterans.
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: This organization supports people who suffer from depression and bipolar disorder, providing a wealth of information as well as peer support.
Resources for Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol abuse is one of the most common types of addictions among veterans, and these resources provide information specific to alcohol abuse and how to get help.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): AA provides free meetups for people suffering from alcohol abuse. While not specifically designed for veterans, everyone is welcome and can benefit from these meetings.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): Publication on the topic of alcohol abuse in the military and how it relates to military trauma. The rest of the site provides a wealth of information on issues relating to alcohol abuse.
Rethinking Drinking: A site providing information on alcohol that asks people to check if they might have a problem with this substance, as well as providing information on how drinking affects your health.
Support for Veterans and Their Families
There are a number of organizations that provide support not just to veterans but also for their families. Whether a veteran is struggling with problems like substance or alcohol abuse, these resources can help.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): This government agency provides support, information, and resources for veterans and their families. It also provides support for non-military people, specifically for substance abuse treatment and research.
Supporting Military Families: This section of the Department of Health & Human Services website is dedicated to providing resources for helping veterans and military families. It includes a number of resources for substance abuse and mental health issues.
Operation Homefront: A service dedicated to military families in America, Operation Homefront provides support for children, spouses, and military personnel. It is not focused solely on addiction but provides support for any issue, as well as financial assistance.
General Addiction Resources
If you’re looking for general resources related to addiction and substance abuse in veterans, you can find the right help here.
Make the Connection: A website where you can read stories from other veterans who have overcome their challenges with substance abuse and mental health problems. An excellent resource for both veterans and their families where you can access plenty of information on a variety of problems affecting veterans.
National Institute on Drug Abuse: Detailed guide to drug abuse in the armed forces, providing information on illicit and prescription drugs as well as information on suicide prevention.
VA Caregiver Support: A program run by VA that provides assistance to family members who care for injured veterans. It includes information for coping and a support line for caregivers.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): Provides a wealth of information about different types of drugs that are commonly abused as well as publications and the latest news about addiction in America.
National Recovery Month: A resource for everyone, including veterans, that provides help and support for those trying to recover from addiction. This site features personal stories, details on local outreach events, and more.
VA Tobacco Use Page: This section on the VA website tackles tobacco addiction in veterans and provides advice on how to quit and information on the connection between smoking tobacco and mental health. It also includes information for health care professionals.