Frequently Asked Questions

What personal items can a client bring ?

Clients are allowed to bring the following:

  • 1 machine washable pillow
  • 1 machine washable blanket
  • Up to $100 cash ($20 in clients possession)
  • Minimum jewelry (wedding bands)
  • Clothing appropriate to dress code
  • Shampoo / conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup
  • Facial cleansing pads
  • Lightly scented lotion
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Lightly scented body wash / soap (not heavily perfumed ex. Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body, etc.)
  • Reading materials (non-recovery materials must be kept in room)
  • Shower shoes
  • Plastic water bottles

These items are allowed but must be kept in personal locker:

  • Razor
  • Tweezers, nail clippers, emery boards
  • Shaving cream
  • Beard trimmers, electric razors
  • Hair dryer, flat iron, and curling iron

What should I bring with me to Heroes' Mile?

Important items to bring:

  • Insurance forms and personal identification
  • Casual clothing (wash and wear) for three days
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Personal care items (incl. toothbrush & toothpaste, shampoo & conditioner)
  • Current medications/medication bottles
  • No more than one moderately-sized bag of personal effects

Who can refer someone to Heroes' Mile for treatment?

We invite referrals by medical caregivers, case managers, employee assistance programs, family members, community agencies, hospitals, clergy, friends and patients themselves. If you would like further information, call our admissions department at 1-888-VET-NOW2

Prevalence rates of PTSD among first responders have been reported in various studies to range from 6% to 32%. This wide range reflects differences in study populations, assessment methods, and the traumatic events experienced by first responders.

The exact number of first responders with PTSD varies by study and region, but it is recognized that first responders are at a higher risk for PTSD compared to the general population. Studies have reported PTSD prevalence rates ranging from 6% to 32% among first responders, including police, firefighters, and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel.

Yes, there are programs specifically designed to support first responders with PTSD. One notable example is the “warr;or21” program, which aims to promote resilience among first responders by enhancing their coping skills and psychological flexibility. Additionally, Heroes’ Mile offers a dedicated PTSD program tailored to the needs of first responders. This program focuses on providing comprehensive support and evidence-based interventions to address the unique mental health challenges faced by first responders, helping them to cope more effectively with the stresses of their profession and improve their overall well-being.

Innovative approaches, such as telehealth care models, can enhance access to mental health services for first responders. These approaches utilize technology to provide convenient and accessible support, regardless of location or schedule.

Despite the high prevalence of PTSD among first responders, there remains a scarcity of treatment studies specifically focused on this population. This lack of research presents challenges in effectively addressing the mental health needs of first responders and developing tailored interventions to support their recovery.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing mental health challenges among first responders and introduced new stressors. Increased risk of exposure to the virus, coupled with unprecedented circumstances, has heightened anxiety levels and contributed to elevated levels of mental distress.

Resilience programs are designed to enhance coping skills, psychological flexibility, and overall well-being among first responders. These programs equip individuals with the tools to navigate the challenges of their profession more effectively and promote resilience in the face of adversity.

The nature of their work, which often involves exposure to traumatic events and high levels of stress, contributes to the heightened risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors among first responders.

First responders commonly experience depressive symptoms, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance abuse issues.

Eating disorders, such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder, are recognized as serious mental health conditions. In civilian life, they are often considered disabilities under laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), entitling individuals to certain accommodations and protections. In the military, eating disorders are generally not seen as disabilities warranting discharge on their own. However, severe impairments in meeting military standards or performing duties could lead to a medical discharge. Regardless of the context, seeking treatment and support for eating disorders is crucial for overall well-being.

A PTSD fracture isn’t a specific type of fracture, but rather refers to the higher likelihood of experiencing a broken bone if you have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. People with PTSD are 1.7 times more likely to have a fracture than those without the condition.

Why Does This Happen?: Stress from PTSD can negatively affect bone strength. The disorder also impacts how well our bodies use calcium, a key element for strong bones.

Bad Habits: Many people with PTSD smoke, which further weakens bones and raises the risk of fractures.

Who is Most at Risk?: Older adults with PTSD, especially those over 60, have a higher risk for certain types of fractures, like those in the spine.

What We Don’t Know: The studies we have are not perfect and don’t account for all variables, such as medication use that might affect bone health.

Understanding this increased risk can help healthcare providers take better care of their PTSD patients, both mentally and physically.

Symptoms of CPTSD include those associated with PTSD (such as flashbacks, avoidance, and hyperarousal) along with additional symptoms like emotional dysregulation, persistent negative beliefs about oneself, difficulties in relationships, a preoccupation with the perpetrator, and a sense of hopelessness about finding relief or a resolution.

CPTSD can be considered a disability in some contexts, especially when its symptoms are debilitating and interfere with an individual’s ability to function in everyday life. As with PTSD, those affected by CPTSD may be eligible for disability benefits if they can demonstrate that their condition limits their capacity to work.

Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) is a condition that results from enduring complex trauma, typically prolonged, repetitive experiences of entrapment, neglect, or abuse, particularly in childhood. CPTSD encompasses a range of symptoms that extend beyond those of PTSD, including difficulties with emotional regulation, consciousness, and self-perception, as well as interpersonal problems.

CPTSD stands for Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

PTSD is a chronic condition that may not completely go away, but its symptoms can be managed effectively with the right treatment and support. Therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes can help reduce the impact of symptoms and improve quality of life. Some individuals may experience a significant reduction in symptoms over time, while others may need ongoing management strategies.

The 17 symptoms of PTSD, categorized into four groups, are: Intrusive memories (flashbacks, nightmares, reliving the event, distress at reminders), avoidance (avoiding thoughts or feelings, avoiding reminders), negative changes in thinking and mood (negative thoughts about oneself or others, hopelessness, memory problems, difficulty maintaining close relationships, feeling detached, lack of interest in activities, difficulty experiencing positive emotions), and changes in physical and emotional reactions (being easily startled, always being on guard, self-destructive behavior, trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating, irritability, angry outbursts, overwhelming guilt or shame).

PTSD can be classified as a disability, especially when its symptoms are severe enough to significantly impair an individual’s ability to function in daily life. In many countries, including the United States, individuals with PTSD can qualify for disability benefits if they can demonstrate that their condition prevents them from maintaining gainful employment.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by witnessing or experiencing a terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event. PTSD can disrupt daily life and functioning, making it difficult for individuals to cope with their daily responsibilities and social relationships.

PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

CPTSD often originates from prolonged, repetitive trauma experienced in childhood, such as abuse, neglect, or living in a war-torn region. Childhood is a formative time, and trauma during this period can deeply affect an individual’s development, leading to complex post-traumatic stress disorder in adulthood.

The 17 symptoms of complex PTSD can include: flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance of trauma reminders, negative thoughts about oneself or the world, distorted feelings like guilt or blame, loss of interest in activities, detachment from others, inability to experience positive emotions, irritability, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, concentration problems, sleep disturbances, self-destructive behavior, issues with trust and intimacy, persistent sadness or hopelessness, and physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches.

A CPTSD episode may manifest as a severe psychological reaction that can mimic an intense PTSD flashback, coupled with feelings of hopelessness, shame, or despair. Individuals may experience a loss of control over their emotions, leading to sudden bouts of anger, sadness, or fear. Dissociation or feeling detached from reality is also common. These episodes can be triggered by reminders of past trauma and may result in a withdrawal from social interactions and a disruption in daily functioning.

Complex PTSD (CPTSD) differs from PTSD primarily in its origins and symptoms. While PTSD typically results from a single traumatic event, CPTSD develops due to prolonged or repeated trauma over months or years, often in situations where the victim is under the control of the perpetrator. CPTSD includes all the symptoms of PTSD along with additional issues such as difficulty with emotional regulation, an altered sense of the perpetrator (which may include a preoccupation with revenge or giving the perpetrator power), and a distorted self-concept.

Eating disorders are relatively common, though the prevalence can vary depending on the specific disorder and the population being studied.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), in the United States:

  • About 1% of American women suffer from anorexia nervosa in their lifetime.
  • Approximately 1-5% of American women experience bulimia nervosa.
  • Binge-Eating Disorder (BED) is believed to be the most common, affecting 3.5% of women and 2% of men in the U.S.

Eating disorders are psychiatric conditions. They cause severe and ongoing disruptions in eating behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. These disorders often manifest as an extreme focus on food, body shape, or weight. They can also include a range of extreme eating behaviors and unhealthy ways to manage weight.

Eating disorders are complex conditions influenced by a combination of genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental factors. While they are not solely determined by genetics, research has indicated that genetic factors can play a significant role.

  1. Genetic Predisposition: Studies have found that individuals with a family history of eating disorders are at a higher risk of developing one themselves.
  2. Twin Studies: Research on identical twins, who share 100% of their genes, has shown that if one twin has an eating disorder, the other is more likely to develop one compared to fraternal twins, who share about 50% of their genes.
  3. Genetic Markers: Some research suggests that specific genetic markers may be associated with a higher risk of developing eating disorders, although no single “eating disorder gene” has been identified.
  4. Neurobiological Factors: Certain neurotransmitters, which are influenced by genetics, have been implicated in eating disorders. For example, serotonin imbalances are commonly found in individuals with eating disorders.
  5. Temperament: Inherited personality traits such as perfectionism or impulsivity can increase vulnerability to eating disorders.
  6. Co-Occurrence: Eating disorders often co-occur with other issues that have a genetic basis, such as anxiety disorders or depression.

However, it’s crucial to note that genetics are just one piece of the puzzle. Environmental triggers such as societal pressure, family dynamics, and traumatic experiences also play significant roles in the onset and perpetuation of eating disorders.

Supporting someone with an eating disorder is a sensitive and challenging task that often requires a nuanced approach. Ultimately, your goal is to keep yourself or a loved one safe by directing them to a medical professional, but here are some general guidelines that could help:

  1. Educate Yourself: Understanding the complexities of eating disorders can prepare you for the emotional and psychological challenges ahead.
  2. Open Dialogue: Choose a private and comfortable setting to talk openly and honestly, using “I” statements to express concern rather than accusatory language.
  3. Avoid Food and Body Talk: Keep the focus on the person’s feelings and well-being rather than their eating habits or appearance.
  4. Encourage Professional Help: Suggest they consult with healthcare providers like a doctor, psychologist, or a certified eating disorder specialist for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
  5. Offer Emotional Support: Reinforce that you’re there for them, but be prepared for possible denial or resistance.
  6. Set Boundaries: It’s important to protect your own emotional well-being too. Make it clear what you can and can’t offer in terms of support.
  7. Be Consistent: Your loved one will need ongoing support; recovery is a long process that comes with ups and downs.
  8. Involve Other Support Systems: Support groups and family therapy may provide additional layers of support and understanding.
  9. Maintain Regular Life: As much as possible, encourage the individual to maintain their friendships, hobbies, and activities.
  10. Monitor Your Behavior: Make sure you’re not inadvertently contributing to their disorder by making comments on their eating habits or body size.
  11. Consult Experts for Your Own Support: Speaking to professionals can help you understand the best ways to offer support while also taking care of yourself.
  12. Be Patient and Prepared for Setbacks: Recovery is often a long process filled with setbacks. Be prepared for them and continue offering your support.

Remember, while you can be a valuable source of support, you’re not a substitute for professional treatment. It’s crucial for anyone dealing with an eating disorder to consult qualified medical professionals for diagnosis and treatment.

If you think you may have an eating disorder, it’s crucial to consult a qualified medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. However, if you believe you or a loved one may be suffering from eating disorders, and are considering consulting a medical professional, also consider these questions:

  1. Am I preoccupied with food, dieting, and body size?
  2. Do I engage in secretive eating behaviors?
  3. Have I lost or gained a significant amount of weight recently without a medical reason?
  4. Do I feel anxious or guilty about eating?
  5. Am I avoiding meals or social situations involving food?
  6. Do I feel compelled to exercise excessively?
  7. Have there been changes in my menstrual cycle (for those applicable)?
  8. Am I experiencing physical symptoms like dizziness, fatigue, or hair loss?
  9. Do I use food to cope with stress or emotional issues?
  10. Is my eating pattern affecting my social life, work, or physical health?

If you or a loved one identify with several of these questions, it may be a sign that you should seek professional advice.

Having one drink later in the same day as Adderall will not likely cause a problem. However, if you’re planning to have a few drinks, they shouldn’t be taken around the same time as stimulant medications. This is due to the opposing effects that each drug has on the body.

Adderall and alcohol should not be taken at the same time. It is advised to wait until a minimum of 4-6 hours after taking regular release Adderall before drinking alcohol. For extended release, more than 8 hours should pass.

Due to the counteractive effects of a stimulant (Adderall) combined with a depressant (alcohol), Adderall and alcohol should not be taken together.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on people’s mental health since the very beginning. In fact, as many as four in 10 American adults experienced mental health concerns during the pandemic, which is an increase from previous statistics on the prevalence of anxiety and depression. Overall, the pandemic has led to an increase in anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, PTSD, and substance use disorders.

There are many different ways that veterans can cope with stress, including seeing a mental health professional. When stress leads to other mental health concerns such as drinking or using drugs, the best way to cope with these challenges is to seek out treatment centers that specialize in addiction, mental health, and veteran-specific care.

If you are a veteran who is struggling with PTSD, you are not alone—and you are not out of options. Treatment facilities like Heroes’ Mile are made by veterans for veterans who are looking for help with COVID PTSD, addiction, and more.

Fentanyl belongs to the category of synthetic opioids that are mainly meant to be used in situations of extreme chronic pain. But fentanyl is highly addictive and used illegally throughout the United States because it is so cheap to manufacture. In recent years, fentanyl has been detected in doses of heroin, cocaine, and fake Xanax.

In its legal form, fentanyl is usually administered as a shot, dissolvable lozenges, or even as a patch that sticks to skin. On the streets, however, illegally used fentanyl comes in a powdered form that people can mix into virtually anything without it being seen. There is no real way to know if the drugs you buy are laced with fentanyl unless they are tested in a specialized lab setting, which leaves you vulnerable to serious side effects.

One of the biggest dangers with fake Xanax bars is that they look nearly identical to the real prescribed medications. Fake Xanax bars are long, white pills with letters and a number pressed into them. However, fake Xanax contains deadlier substances, such as fentanyl, that lead to unintentional deaths related to overdosing.

Prescription Xanax is a small white pill in the shape of a bar. On the bar, there are lines and letters stamped into it, usually spelling Xanax or sometimes including the dosage with a number pressed into the back of the pill.

Xanax is the name brand of benzodiazepines that doctors prescribe to patients who experience severe anxiety and other mental health crises. Xanax works to spread a feeling of calmness throughout the body’s nervous system. As a result, patients will feel less anxious or panicked in certain situations.

Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to identify what fentanyl tastes like. Different types of fentanyl mixed with different things may taste radically different, so a taste test is not an effective way to tell if something contains fentanyl.

Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to identify a fentanyl pill. In some cases, the pill may be an unusual color or not have the right numbers on it. However, drug dealers often do their best to make the pills look like the real thing, so oftentimes there is no physical marking of a fentanyl pill.

When sold as a powder, fentanyl can look varying levels of off-white to light brown. When it is mixed into other powders, fentanyl tends to bring an off-brown color to the mixture.

When taken as prescribed, fentanyl usually comes as a shot, a skin patch, or as lozenges. When sold illegally, fentanyl can be sold as a powder, on blotting paper, in eye droppers and nasal sprays, and made into fentanyl pills.

Fentanyl is a synthetic (or lab-made) opioid that is commonly used for treating surgical pain. It is 50-100 times more potent than morphine, and it has substantial addictive properties. As opioid overdose deaths climb, fentanyl is believed to be a large part of the problem, particularly because it can be placed in drugs without people realizing it.

People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol might act out in ways that they normally wouldn’t. Some examples of addictive behavior include lying about or hiding the addiction, engaging in risky situations (such as driving under the influence), and putting the addictive substance before other people. Addictive behavior is often uncontrollable, but it is treatable with the right kind of help.

Diseases are things that stop an organism from being healthy and functioning as normal. Just like any other disease, drug addiction is something that only gets worse as time progresses. Unfortunately, drug addiction often leads to worsening mental health symptoms, physical deterioration, and even death when it goes untreated.

There is no one sole cause of addiction to drugs or alcohol. Anybody can develop the symptoms of a substance use disorder, but some people are more prone to addiction than others. A combination of genetics, life experiences, and existence of co-occurring disorders can put people at an even higher risk of struggling with addiction.

Addiction occurs when you become physically and mentally dependent on a substance that usually causes harm. Addiction can involve gambling, sex, drugs, alcohol, and other categories. Addiction is a deadly disease, resulting in over 50,000 deaths related to drug overdoses alone.

The only way to know for sure if you suffer from alcohol abuse is to get a professional evaluation. Some warning signs are drinking more than you intended to, drinking alone or in secrecy, and trying to stop or cut down on your drinking and not being able to.

Alcoholism has been shown to be hereditary. Many genes contribute to the risk of developing alcoholism, and environmental factors (like child abuse) can raise your risk as well.

Alcohol is both physically and mentally addictive. While not everyone becomes addicted from drinking alcohol, it has quantifiable addictive properties. Signs of addiction include physical alcohol withdrawals and scheduling your life around alcohol.

Yes, there is a great amount of evidence that suggests that alcoholism and addiction definitely have a genetic factor. Note that not every child of an alcoholic develops a substance use disorder. But if you have a parent who is an alcoholic, then your risk of developing alcoholism increases.

Some chemotherapy medications can have negative interactions with alcohol. It’s best to ask your doctor about your specific situation and whether it’s safe to drink alcohol during your treatment.

Our bodies turn the ethanol in alcohol into a harmful substance called acetaldehyde. This chemical damages the DNA inside our cells and causes them to repair themselves incorrectly—which leads to cancer.

Most studies have found that it’s the ethanol in alcohol that leads to cancer, not the type of drink. A glass of wine contains the same amount of ethanol as a shot of liquor; of course, a drink with more than a standard serving size of liquor will contain more ethanol and therefore be more likely to cause cancer than a standard glass of wine.

Yes, alcohol is a human carcinogen. Even moderate drinking has been shown to increase an individual’s risk for several different types of cancer.

As with a functioning addict, a functioning alcoholic is someone who can put on a facade or act as though they are completely okay. They might even be able to successfully fulfill their daily responsibilities. However, all the while they are struggling through an addiction to alcohol and require professional treatment to recover.

There is a huge difference between social drinking and alcoholism. The main aspect of being an alcoholic is that you cannot control how much you drink. Some signs of alcoholism include not being able to stop drinking after one alcoholic beverage, using alcohol to cope with mental health distress, and feeling withdrawal symptoms whenever you are not drinking.

A functioning addict is somebody who has a substance use disorder but is able to “mask” or hide the symptoms in their everyday lives. Thus, a functioning addict might be able to work, keep healthy relationships, and socialize without anyone picking up on the fact that they are struggling.

There is not one defining characteristic of all addicts that set them apart from non-addicts in society. This means that anybody can have an addiction to alcohol or drugs, even if you cannot “see” it. In fact, many addicts—especially veterans, who resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms as a means to survive—are particularly good at hiding signs of addiction from their loved ones and even from themselves.

Outpatient rehab allows for addiction treatment while a person is still living at home. This type of treatment addresses addiction in a treatment setting for several hours a day or week, allowing for the client to retain a regular schedule.

Yes, alcohol is both physically and mentally addictive. Simply put, alcohol can change the chemistry in the brain, leading to physical dependency.

Excessive drinking includes binge drinking and heavy drinking. Additionally, excessive drinking involves any drinking by pregnant women or those that are underage.

Gray area drinking refers to the level of drinking that is considered more than light to moderate consumption but not yet to the level of alcohol addiction. This type of drinker rarely hits a rock bottom. However, alcohol still may be a problem in these individuals’ lives. Many drinkers fall into the gray area category.

Since moral injury is not a diagnosable disorder, there is no predefined treatment for it. Group therapy with others who have been through similar events has been found to be helpful. Cognitive Processing Therapy is also thought to assist those with moral injury in processing the traumatic events.

While post-traumatic stress disorder and moral injury share many symptoms, there are a few notable differences.

PTSD is a diagnosable mental disorder while moral injury is not yet a clinical diagnosis. In addition, PTSD is primarily fear-based, often as a result of an attack. Moral injury, on the other hand, is a moral dilemma, or confusion between interpreting right from wrong. Hallmark symptoms of moral injury include immense guilt and shame.

No, moral injury is not yet a clinical diagnosis.

Moral injury refers to the reaction to a traumatic event that conflicts with a person’s code of ethics. This causes mental trauma to the person who witnessed (or was involved in) the unsettling circumstances. Moral injuries are commonly noticed in members of the military due to the nature of combat.

This article covers some of the most common barriers to mental health treatment for veterans, including:

Pushing past all of these barriers to care by contacting Heroes’ Mile is the only way to find effective, long-lasting treatment.

Some of the most common mental health issues in the United States include anxiety disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. As we know, these issues all affect veterans as well. In fact, the prevalence of PTSD and other mental health issues is higher in veterans than the rest of the population. This shows that the need for better care for veterans is undeniably necessary.

Did you know that one in five people in the United States have a mental illness? Mental illnesses are conditions that can affect the way you think, act, and feel. Often, they lead to perceptions or behaviors that may seem irrational to someone without a mental illness. People with mental illnesses have a wide range of symptoms depending on their condition, but managing mental health issues is possible with the right treatment.

While there is some nuance to this issue, the short answer is that yes, addiction is a mental illness. While addiction does start with a choice to drink or use certain drugs, the mechanisms that make someone predisposed to addiction are inherent and not chosen. The official name for addiction is substance use disorder, and this is because it is a mental disorder, not a personal failing or a character flaw. Moreover, the fact that addiction is not a choice makes it even more important that veterans seek professional help.

Like anyone else, veterans can have any type of mental health issue. That said, they are predisposed to issues like PTSD and anxiety due to trauma that can happen during military service. This is especially true for combat exposed veterans. As a result, veterans are also in danger of developing co-occurring addiction issues.

Solid Start is a VA program that began in December of 2019. This program ensures that VA employees will call a veteran three times within their first year of returning home from service. Once the veteran has been reached, the VA employee will help put them in contact with essential services to ease their transition to civilian life, such as loan providers, health care organization, mental health facilities, and veteran rehab centers.

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