How Tactical Recovery Helps Veterans With PTSD

Veterans With PTSD

The board-certified professionals at Willingway follow distinct protocols to help active service members, first responders, Veterans, and their families receive the attention they deserve. Through the Tactical Recovery Support Services, we create a culturally competent and trauma-informed environment, using evidence-based, customized practices to help individuals learn effective condition management and create long-lasting recovery.

The Threat of PTSD in the Military Community 

In 2023, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reported that Veterans have a higher rate of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than civilians and are three times more likely to experience the disorder if deployed than if not. Additionally, “one study found that among veterans using VA care, 23 out of every 100 had PTSD at some point in their lives, compared to 7 out of every 100 veterans who don’t use VA for health care,” the VA states. Vets who use the VA for health services are automatically screened for PTSD and military sexual trauma (MST), while others not using those services are not, so in actuality, the number of individuals affected may be higher.

The VA also indicates that military members of different service eras experience varying levels of PTSD. For example, the agency’s studies indicate that:

  • Nearly 30 out of 100 Veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom experienced PTSD at some point in life.
  • More than 20 out of 100 Veterans of Desert Storm suffered from PTSD at some point in life. 

Unfortunately, less than 50 percent of these Veterans receive the care they need. Many Veterans experience co-occurring disorders, too, including addiction, anxiety, and depression. Additionally, Veterans have a nearly 60 percent higher risk of suicide than their peers who haven’t served. 

Even while the VA mental health site stresses confidentiality and doesn’t require identifying information to direct someone to essential resources, there’s still fear of career retribution, being considered “less than” or lacking “toughness,” and other concerns. Some research indicates that military personnel even feel “discouraged to seek treatment.” Men in particular struggle with these perceptions and often suffer additional health problems as a result.

How Tactical Recovery Can Help

Willingway’s veteran treatment program, Tactical Recovery Support Services, certified through the non-profit PsychArmor, is what’s known as a “Veteran-Ready” initiative. This means the professionals at Willingway are specifically trained in military culture awareness to be able to engage more effectively with Veterans. 

Vance A. Raham (U.S. Air Force) is board-certified in addiction medicine and the medical director at Willingway. In his experience, military personnel struggle with:

  • Underlying issues such as chronic pain, PTSD, and trauma, which can lead to over-medication with controlled medications.
  • Decreased functionality caused by the medications, which results in poor social functioning and financial problems.
  • Extended exposure to certain medications, which creates higher risk of addiction.

“The greatest misconceptions some active service personnel have about seeking PTSD and addiction treatment are 1) asking for help is a weakness and, 2) no one cares about their addiction issues,” Raham says. He adds that the effects of PTSD—either prior to or as a result of military service— create a “propensity to use opioids and benzodiazepines to treat PTSD or trauma that leads to addiction, tolerance, and dependence.”

Through Tactical Recovery, “we strive to change these perceptions by showing them we care and help them realize that it takes more strength to ask for and accept help than to struggle on their own,” Raham says. “While we don’t pretend to know what they have gone through, we care.”

The program provides trauma-informed care within a service-oriented culture, using evidence-based practices proven effective with Veterans. We’re skilled in treating co-occurring mental health diagnoses and provide two Veteran-specific small groups per week for residents. We also offer collaborative discharge planning that includes the VA or military command when appropriate.

When someone uses the Tactical Recovery Support Services at Willingway for detoxification and residential treatment, they can access VA health benefits through the Community Care Network (CNN). The CCN allows Veterans and the VA to utilize community partners outside the VA network. 

Willingway: Proudly Serving Those Who Served

Far too often, people think they’re alone with their pain and struggles, and it’s easy to feel this way when you’re in the thick of it all. However, now more than ever before, former and current military and law enforcement personnel and first responders bravely speak up about many aspects of their health. They’re more open about the challenges of PTSD, complicated grief, mental health conditions, and addiction. This show of bravery extends vital camaraderie of care, support, and relatability. 

At some point, courage takes the form of acknowledging there’s a problem and asking for help. Create positive change by using a warrior’s spirit to face it head-on and make the necessary steps for better health. Contact Willingway’s admissions team at our Statesboro, Georgia location to learn more about how the Tactical Recovery program can help. You or a loved one can also be assured that after treatment, you’ll have a reliable unit of aftercare support, with ongoing resources in your hometown to support your needs for a lifetime.

If you or someone you love is in immediate crisis, please call one of these free, confidential 24/7 resources: