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Inpatient Rehab for Veterans: Local Recovery Options

Written by Melissa Carmona

& Medically Reviewed by Jenni Jacobsen, LSW

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This article was reviewed by a medical professional to guarantee the delivery of accurate and up-to- date information. View our research policy.
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If you’re a veteran grappling with addiction, you’ll discover a multitude of treatment options to help you on your journey to recovery. Specifically, inpatient rehab programs tailored to veterans can serve as invaluable resources. These programs offer a structured daily regimen, creating a sanctuary away from the stressors and triggers of everyday life and facilitating a conducive environment for healing.

What Veterans Should Look For in Their Rehab Center

When embarking on the quest for the right treatment program, consider these vital factors:

  • Accreditation: Prioritize inpatient rehab programs that have earned accreditation. This certification assures that the facility meets or exceeds stringent quality standards, ensuring top-tier services.
  • Qualified Staff: Choose a facility with credentialed treatment staff, including psychologists, clinical social workers and physicians specializing in addiction treatment. While support staff may not always need credentials, the core treatment team overseeing your care should possess the necessary education and licensure in addiction treatment.
  • Dual Diagnosis Services: Look for inpatient rehab programs offering dual diagnosis services, addressing both addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders concurrently. This is particularly crucial for veterans, given that research indicates that 55%–68% of veterans with symptoms of PTSD also battle alcohol addiction, underscoring the importance of dual diagnosis treatment.
  • Therapeutic Choices: Given the prevalence of PTSD in veterans and its connection to addiction, seek inpatient rehab programs providing specialized therapies for treating PTSD. Programs offering cognitive processing therapy, prolonged exposure therapy and EMDR have demonstrated effectiveness in treating PTSD.

Types of Veteran Inpatient Rehab Programs

Diverse types of veteran inpatient rehab programs are available. Some programs exclusively cater to veterans, allowing you to undergo treatment alongside peers who share similar experiences and challenges. Others may offer trauma-informed services to both veterans and non-veteran patients, fostering an inclusive environment.

Additionally, consider that programs vary in duration. Short-term inpatient programs typically last 14-28 days, while longer-term options may extend to three months. Veterans dealing with severe addiction or lacking supportive, safe housing in the community may find longer-term inpatient care more beneficial.

Finding Veteran-Centric Inpatient Care

Veterans in search of inpatient rehab programs can benefit from facilities offering veteran-centric care. This might entail programs exclusively designed for veterans or facilities that treat both veteran and non-veteran populations while tailoring programming to meet the unique needs of veterans.

You can locate veteran-centric inpatient care through the VA, which provides an array of resources for veterans grappling with substance abuse. The VA offers inpatient care, medical detox, medication-assisted treatment and outpatient services. You can also get these services at VA Community Care Network private providers like The Recovery Village Ridgefield. 

The Comprehensive Veteran Addiction Treatment Plan

Inpatient addiction rehab for veterans involves the creation of a comprehensive treatment plan. This begins with an assessment during which the treatment center’s staff gather information about your health history, addiction-related symptoms and other relevant details, including your service history, family background and living situation.

Following the assessment, the treatment team crafts a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to address the specific concerns that led you to seek rehab. This plan outlines your goals and the services required to achieve them. Veterans may initiate their journey with medical detox to manage withdrawal symptoms, followed by other services such as individual therapy, group therapy, support groups and medication management.

Upon completing their inpatient care, veterans should collaborate with their treatment team to develop an aftercare plan. This plan delineates the services that veterans will continue to participate in upon returning home. For instance, veterans may receive outpatient counseling services and attend support groups to prevent relapse.

Tailoring Treatment to Veterans’ Needs

Treatment plans for veterans should be customized to address their specific needs, taking into account the unique challenges they face. These challenges, stemming from stress related to deployment, combat exposure and reintegration into civilian life, often contribute to addiction.

A Collaborative Approach to Veteran Rehab

Quality veteran rehab programs embrace a collaborative approach to treatment, with multiple professionals working together to meet your needs. This team may include a doctor responsible for medication management, a therapist conducting individual sessions to address coping mechanisms and a case manager coordinating your services. Think of these team members as akin to the various specialties within the military, all working together toward the shared goal of treating the addiction. 

Effective Therapies for Veterans

Veteran addiction programs typically offer a blend of individual and group therapy. Several trauma-informed approaches have demonstrated benefits for veterans:

  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT): CPT, a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, assists individuals in identifying negative thoughts related to trauma and replacing them with healthier thought patterns over time.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR helps patients reprocess trauma by incorporating eye movements or hand taps while recalling traumatic memories, reducing psychological disruption caused by trauma. 
  • Prolonged Exposure (PE): PE requires patients to confront trauma memories in a safe clinical setting, assisting them in changing their reactions to these memories. 

Peer Support in Veteran Rehab

Peer support groups play a pivotal role in veteran addiction treatment. During these support group sessions, veterans can foster camaraderie and learn from peers who have encountered similar challenges.

Using VA Health Insurance: The Community Care Network

On occasion, veterans may prefer to seek inpatient rehab from a facility not affiliated with a VA medical center. In such instances, veterans can access services through the Community Care Network (CCN) if they possess VA health insurance. The VA will cover the treatment costs, provided pre-authorization for services is obtained.

Navigating the VA Community Care Process

When opting for VA CCN benefits for inpatient rehab, it’s crucial to follow the proper steps to secure VA coverage for your treatment:

  • Initiate a conversation with your VA doctor to commence the “consult creation and review” process, during which your doctor refers you to the inpatient treatment center. This consult request is forwarded to the Community Care department for review.
  • Following approval from the Community Care department, they will contact you and reach out to the inpatient treatment provider to verify their network status. They will also schedule your initial appointment.
  • The VA will authorize your appointment and provide you with a letter detailing the approved duration of care and the types of treatment available.
  • You can commence your treatment and continue care for the authorized duration. If you require care beyond the initial approval, you’ll need to seek re-authorization. 

Finding Nearby Veteran Inpatient Rehab: 10 Questions for Providers

When seeking quality veteran addiction treatment, contemplate these ten questions before selecting an inpatient facility:

  • Do you accept VA insurance?
  • What is the program’s duration?
  • What therapy services are provided?
  • Do you offer veteran-specific treatment?
  • Is your facility exclusive to veterans, or do you admit non-veterans as well?
  • What trauma-informed services are available?
  • Do you provide on-site medical detox?
  • Are you accredited?
  • Who comprises the treatment team?
  • If non-veterans are part of the program, will they join support groups for veterans?

Gathering answers to these questions will assist you in determining whether a specific treatment program aligns with your needs and preferences. Programs accepting your insurance, offering veteran-specific treatment and providing trauma-informed services typically cater well to veterans. Additionally, insights into the composition of your treatment team and the program’s duration will further assist in making an informed choice.

FORTITUDE: A Specialized Rehab Track for Veterans and First Responders

Veteran-centric inpatient rehab programs offer specialized treatment tailored to the unique needs of veterans. At The Recovery Village, we take pride in offering the FORTITUDE program, meticulously designed to provide addiction treatment services to veterans and first responders.

Our licensed staff possesses expertise in trauma-informed therapies, including EMDR. We also facilitate exclusive peer support groups for veterans and first responders. Furthermore, we provide co-occurring disorders treatment to address mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and PTSD, which often accompany addiction.

View Sources

Dworkin, Emily; Bergman, Hannah; Walton, Thomas; Walker, Denise; Kayden, Debra. “Co-Occurring Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder in U.S. Military and Veteran Populations.” Alcohol Research, 2018. Accessed October 2, 2023. 

Reisman, Miriam. “PTSD Treatment for Veterans: What’s Working, What’s New, and What’s Next.” Pharmacy & Therapeutics, October 2016. Accessed October 2, 2023. 

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “Substance use treatment for Veterans.” October 12, 2022. Accessed October 2, 2023. 

Teeters, Jenni; Lancaster, Cynthia; Brown, Delisa; Back, Sudie. “Substance use disorders in military veterans: prevalence and treatment challenges.” Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, 2017. Accessed October 2, 2023. 

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “Community Care Network.” April 5, 2023. Accessed October 2, 2023. 

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “Quick Facts: Community Care for Routine Needs.” October 13, 2022. Accessed October 2, 2023.