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Important Considerations in Treatment Delivery

Given the number of Service Members still deployed and the projected high levels of post-deployment stress effects, it makes sense for civilian providers of mental health and substance use disorder treatment services to become prepared to work effectively with this population.

Many resources for treating substance use disorders and post-deployment stress effects are available within the U.S. Department of Defense and Department Veteran’s Affairs (VA), including the regular VA facilities and the less formal, community-based Vet Centers, where veterans can find both an array of services and support groups of veterans.  However, anecdotal evidence indicates that the timely availability of these services varies from community to community, and that not all veterans are aware of the services that are available to them through the military (Lighthall, 2008).

Some non-military service providers have begun treating veterans for their SUDs and post-deployment stress effects through subcontracting arrangements with the VA.  However, some veterans also seek help directly from SUD treatment facilities, community-based mental health centers, and other providers.  Their reasons are many and varied:  Some are referred by family members or friends, some may not have access to the services they need through the military or VA, and some simply prefer to receive services in their communities.  Others choose community-based services to avoid the real or perceived possibility of stigma and reprisals.

This section focuses on considerations for treatment and recovery, providing a very brief, very general overview of some things that civilian clinicians might want to consider in planning or refining their approach toward working with veterans.

Next: Building Safety by Building on Resilience

Also in this section:

Please Note:
Some of the considerations in these pages are taken from written works, but more are based on conversations with or presentations by veterans or therapists who work with trauma survivors.  The reader is encouraged, not to take these ideas as absolute or as the only important considerations, but to respond to them with curiosity and a desire to listen, read, and learn much more.

The material on all of the Clinical Pages is taken directly from the draft version of Finding Balance After the War Zone:  Considerations in the Treatment of Post-Deployment Stress Effects, a manual under development for the Great Lakes Addiction Technology Transfer Center and Human Priorities.  This draft is copyright © 2008, Pamela Woll.  Reprint permission is universally granted, but attribution is requested.
Click here for References and Other Resources.
Click here to link to a PDF file of the current version of the clinician’s manual draft.
Click here to link to a PDF file of the accompanying booklet for veterans.

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