Veteran Addiction Treatment & Recovery Services In Ohio

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on July 22, 2023

In Ohio, numerous veterans live with drug addiction, often as a result of PTSD or other mental health concerns. Luckily, the state is home to many inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment programs that cater services to their unique needs.

More than one in ten veterans live with drug addiction (also called substance use disorder). Many of them started misusing drugs to cope with combat-related trauma, difficulties readjusting to civilian life, and other stressors unique to veterans.

Luckily, the state of Ohio offers numerous treatment services for veterans facing addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions.

Veterans & Substance Misuse

Like the rest of the population, veterans may misuse many different types of substances. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that 65% of veterans who seek addiction treatment list alcohol as their most commonly misused substance.

Other substances frequently misused by veterans include marijuana, nicotine, cocaine, heroin, and prescription opioids. Some veterans start taking prescription opioids to manage combat-related pain before becoming addicted to them. 

Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

Many veterans with addiction also have co-occurring mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, almost 1 out of every 3 veterans who seek addiction treatment has PTSD. 

These individuals may have used drugs to numb PTSD symptoms, such as flashbacks and nightmares. People with addiction and PTSD are more likely to experience relationship problems, problems at work or school, and physical health problems like chronic pain. 

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Recovery Services For Veterans In Ohio

In Ohio, veterans have access to a variety of addiction treatment programs. Some programs are inpatient, while others are outpatient. 

During inpatient treatment (also called residential treatment), you live at a treatment center and receive 24/7 care. During outpatient treatment, you regularly visit a treatment center while living at home. 

Many veterans start at an inpatient program and then transition to an outpatient program once their health improves.

Whether you choose inpatient or outpatient care, a team of healthcare providers will evaluate your situation and create your personalized treatment plan. Most treatment plans for veterans include the following services:

Medical Detoxification

One of the most common symptoms of addiction is physical dependence. That means your body starts relying on drugs to function. When you stop using them, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. That’s why most addiction treatment plans start with medical detoxification.

During medical detox, doctors will help you slowly and safely stop using drugs. They may also treat certain withdrawal symptoms with medications, such as anti-nausea medications or sleep aids. 


In therapy, a behavioral health professional will help you manage drug cravings and improve your overall mental health. Most addiction treatment programs offer multiple types of therapy. 

The most effective therapies for veterans include:

  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in which a therapist helps you change unhealthy behaviors and beliefs that contribute to your substance misuse 
  • motivational interviewing (MI), in which a therapist helps you explore and strengthen your motivations for becoming sober
  • contingency management (CM), in which you receive rewards (such as gift cards or cash) for staying drug-free
  • family therapy, in which a therapist helps you and your family members resolve conflicts and support your long-term recovery
  • group therapy, in which you learn and discuss coping strategies alongside other people in recovery

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Veterans who are addicted to alcohol, opioids, or nicotine may be prescribed MAT medications to make the recovery process easier. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the following medications for use in addiction treatment:

  • acamprosate, which reduces alcohol cravings
  • disulfiram, which discourages alcohol use by causing unpleasant side effects (such as headache and nausea) when you drink alcohol
  • naltrexone, which blocks the pleasant effects of alcohol and opioids
  • buprenorphine, which reduces opioid cravings
  • methadone, which reduces opioid cravings
  • bupropion, which reduces nicotine cravings
  • varenicline, which blocks the pleasant effects of nicotine

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), MAT helps people avoid overdose and stay engaged in treatment.

Support Groups

When recovering from addiction, many people feel misunderstood and alone. These feelings are often more intense for veterans, as they may already feel isolated from civilian life. 

That’s why most addiction treatment plans include support groups. In these groups, you can discuss your experiences and coping strategies with other people in recovery. 

Some drug rehab centers also offer special support group meetings for veterans.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Many veterans with addiction also have co-occurring mental health conditions. These individuals need dual diagnosis treatment. This type of treatment includes services that target mental health concerns that occur alongside addiction. 

For instance, if you have addiction and PTSD, your treatment plan may include PTSD-specific therapies such as:

  • exposure therapy, in which a therapist helps you slowly and safely confront your trauma so you can manage it more effectively
  • eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), in which a therapist uses guided eye movements to help you process your trauma and think about it in a healthier way

Some dual diagnosis programs also offer support group meetings that focus on trauma, depression, and other mental health issues often faced by veterans. 

Wellness Activities

Addiction recovery brings a great amount of stress, especially for veterans. That’s why your treatment plan may include activities to help you relax, such as:

  • journaling 
  • meditating
  • yoga
  • exercising
  • arts and crafts

Your treatment team can help you figure out which activities best meet your needs. When you make these activities part of your daily routine, you can significantly reduce your risk of relapse.

Aftercare Planning

Once you complete treatment and return to normal life, you will encounter triggers. Triggers are people, places, or other things that make you want to misuse drugs again. 

For example, you might get triggered if you visit a bar or see someone you used to do drugs with. Triggers may be particularly difficult for veterans with PTSD or other co-occurring mental health conditions. 

To help you cope with triggers, your treatment team will create your personalized aftercare plan. This plan will include relapse prevention strategies that boost your sense of well-being, such as:

  • ongoing therapy
  • regular support group meetings
  • regular exercise
  • transitional housing 
  • assistance with education or employment

Even if you follow your aftercare plan, there’s still a risk of relapse. Relapse does not mean you failed. It just means you need additional or modified treatment. If you or someone you love relapses, contact an addiction treatment facility right away. 

Ohio Resources For Veterans

Ohio veterans and their loved ones can find information on addiction, PTSD, and other common issues by contacting the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). You can find a list of the state’s VA facilities in Ohio here

You can also get free, confidential support by calling the Military Helpline at (888) 457-4838. This 24/7 hotline is staffed by crisis intervention specialists who understand the unique challenges facing veterans and their families. Similar helplines include:

To learn more about addiction treatment options for veterans, please reach out to Ohio Recovery Center. Our inpatient treatment programs offer comprehensive, evidence-based care to help you or your loved one build a healthy, sober life.

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse — Substance Use and Military Life DrugFacts
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — Medications for Substance Use Disorders
  3. Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation — Substance use disorders in military veterans: prevalence and treatment challenges
  4. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs — PTSD and Substance Abuse in Veterans

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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