Serving in the military is more than just a job — it’s a calling. But what many people don’t realize is that military service can increase the risk for substance abuse and other mental health disorders. Serving in a combat zone exposes service members to physical and emotional trauma and makes it difficult to maintain relationships with loved ones at home. Even if you’ve never been in active combat, military service can contribute to high levels of stress associated with moving frequently and being separated from family members during training.
Veterans and their loved ones often wonder if VA benefits can be used to pay for addiction treatment and other behavioral health services. The good news is that VA insurance may pay for addiction treatment services and treatment for PTSD and other mental health issues.
USING VA BENEFITS FOR ADDICTION TREATMENT
Before you can use VA benefits to pay for mental health treatment, you must sign up for a health care plan if you’re not already enrolled in one. Enrolling in an insurance plan will give you access to a wide range of medical services, ensuring you receive the care you need to stay in good health. Once you have VA insurance in place, talk with your VA primary care provider about your substance abuse and other mental health concerns. Based on the information you provide, your doctor can refer you to addiction treatment programs that are equipped to meet your needs.
For best results, substance abuse treatment should be tailored to your individual needs. Many veterans with substance use disorder also have depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety, all of which need to be treated. To ensure you receive addiction treatment designed to address your specific issues, it’s important to be honest with your doctor about your symptoms.
If you’re not already seeing someone at the VA, you can use the interactive map published by the Department of Veterans Affairs to search for VA facilities in your area. The Department of Veterans Affairs also has a search tool available to help you find a local VA hospital.