Many veterans turn to substance abuse to self-medicate and numb their pain. People with PTSD have a harder time overcoming addiction than those without it. The symptoms of withdrawal combined with PTSD amplify negative feelings that may lead to a relapse.
During this session we will discuss: co-occurring disorders, addiction treatment/resources and programs that focus on PTSD and addiction simultaneously.
Immediately below are videos. If you scroll down further, there is a list of resources provided for you to explore. Inclusion of any video or resource does not mean endorsement by Friends' Health Connection. Each resource should be vetted properly by you to make sure the information is accurate and that it's a fit for you.
Veterans - Addiction and Recovery
A Veteran’s journey from addiction to recovery
Investigator Insights: Support for Veterans with Substance Use Disorders
Where should Veterans be able to seek treatment for Opioid Use Disorder?
VA Addiction Help Resources
Treatments and resources are available. VA offers treatment options that are proven to be very effective for most people, and many types of professionals at VA can help treat substance use.
National Association Of Addiction Treatment Providers
The Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness (ABHW)
is the leading. association working to advance federal policy and mental health and addiction services.
SAMHSA is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, and it is focused on efforts to support and improve behavioral health nationwide. SAMHSA provides advocacy for substance abuse and mental health issues, and funds surveys and research that help to determine the state of the nation in regards to these issues and the availability of programs to treat them. These surveys include the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) and the National Survey on Substance Abuse Treatment Services (NSSATS), among others.
Along with information and educational materials, SAMHSA also supports a number of programs and initiatives to promote awareness of substance abuse and mental health issues, and to offer resources to medical and psychiatric practitioners and treatment programs – as well as to state mental health departments and programs. These programs keep the public up to date on the most current research and best practices for providing services to those affected by these behavioral health issues.
In addition, SAMHSA publishes regular informative documents, such as their Treatment Improvement Protocols – or TIPs – that update available information with current research and advancements in therapies and programs that have been shown to improve treatment outcomes.
NIH is another part of the US Department of Health and Human Services dedicated to learning about and preventing disease. It is a broad organization of research programs – referred to as institutes – that delve into specific health topics. NIH funds, supports, and performs research intended to aid in curing, preventing, or helping recovery from disease or other public health issues.
As such, there are three institutes within NIH that are focused specifically on substance abuse and mental health issues:
These institutes not only perform research that is intended to help in the quest for recovery from mental health issues, but also provide educational and support resources regarding different types of substance abuse and mental health issues, how they affect individuals and the general public, and what efforts are being made to prevent, mitigate, or treat these conditions.
State and Municipal Health Departments
State governments provide another source of information and resources for mental health and substance abuse services and care. These can usually be found through the state’s department of health and human services. While the offerings and information available may vary from state to state, most governments provide access to mental health information and public treatment services, as well as accreditation or licensing of and information about private treatment programs throughout their jurisdiction.
https://health.gov/myhealthfinder is a great resource for finding state and county health departments and the resources they offer regarding mental health care and addiction treatment services, as well as resources for education, advocacy, and support, both for those who are struggling with addiction and their loved ones.
This 501(c)(3), nonprofit charity foundation is dedicated to supporting research into alcoholism, based on the troubling idea that alcoholism, one of the most serious threats to mental and physical health in the US, was not receiving research funding at an appropriate level.
This foundation is dedicated to providing funding specifically to understand alcoholism and find treatments that are able to create positive outcomes. The all-volunteer staff recruits members to support this goal by donating to the organization, which then provides grants for relevant research into potential treatments. In addition, he foundation’s website provides research updates, opinion articles, and news about developments in alcoholism research.
To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA)
This private, nonprofit organization started when one person decided to help another person who was struggling with addiction, depression, and other mental health issues. The help led to the discovery that this kind of help is needed around the world. To meet this need, TWLOHA was founded as a way to fund treatment and recovery, and to educate and inform individuals and communities about ways to help those who are struggling with these mental health issues.
In the 10 years that this program has existed, more than $1.5 million has been given through TWLOHA to treatment programs. TWLOHA has also provided grants to organizations and counseling practices dedicated to helping with addiction, depression, and similar mental health issues.
Shatterproof is another nonprofit organization that provides education, support, funding, and advocacy, specifically for addiction and substance abuse. This organization bases its response to the problem of addiction on what it refers to as four strategic pillars:
Empowering individuals, treatment providers, policymakers, and communities to work together to prevent and treat addiction
Ending the stigma of addiction, which often presents a barrier to treatment for those who need it
Advocating for laws and public policies that make it easier to support addiction treatment and those who need it
Understanding addiction better through providing funding for addiction and treatment research
Shatterproof has been deeply involved in recent developments in national policies around mental health and addiction treatment, and has continued plans to stay involved in making addiction prevention and treatment a priority for the US.
This organization is a nonprofit group dedicated to helping those in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction stay sober. This includes a growing study program based on the idea that helping others can increase an individual’s desire to stay sober and avoid relapse into substance abuse. The idea is that the treatment program is not the end of the journey, so supporting those who are in recovery to stay that way is an important aspect of dealing with addiction.
The organization’s website also provides resources for people to provide motivation and inspiration for avoiding relapse. These include recordings and written stories of presentations from Alcoholics Anonymous programs, as well as perspectives from others who are on the same recovery journey. The site also provides research information, a forum for creativity and art, and useful links that can help a person continue on the path of recovery and avoid temptation to return to using.
Mental Health America (MHA)
According to their website, MHA is an organization dedicated to helping people create wellness through supporting mental health. The premise of the organization is that mental health problems are best handled by catching them before they hit a critical stage, stressing prevention and early treatment.
For this reason, the main goals of this organization are to identify issues early, and provide the services and treatments that prevent mental illness from developing into severe issues, with overall wellness as the focus. They do this through providing educational resources for various communities, such as colleges, working communities, and medical facilities, and through advocacy and policy support and development. The website provides a great deal of information on major mental health issues, including addiction and substance abuse.
One element of substance abuse and addiction that is often overlooked is how to help the loved ones of those who are struggling with addiction. This is an organization that does just that: provides resources and support for family and friends of people with addiction and substance abuse issues.
Through its work, 100Pedals also provides support and advocacy about addiction issues, but with the slightly different idea that families and friends need help to deal with addiction too. Addiction is not just an issue for those who are diagnosed with it; it affects loved ones as well. For this reason, the 100Pedals program provides support and resources for family and friends to encourage their self-care and continued strength in the face of a loved one’s struggle