If you suspect that you’re living with alcoholism, VA disability services may be able to help you. But what can the Department of Veterans Affairs do for you, exactly? And how do you know if you qualify for disability benefits? Keep reading for answers to all of your questions about how the VA can help veterans with alcohol addiction.
Alcoholism in Veterans
Alcoholism is understood as a compulsion to continue drinking, even and especially when it has negative consequences in one’s life. But while the definition of alcoholism is simple, the ways and reasons it manifests in people vary greatly.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that common causes of alcoholism include:
- Drinking at a young age
- Family history of alcoholism or other substance use disorders
- Mental health issues, particularly a history of trauma
While these causes of alcoholism can apply to anyone, veterans are at increased risk to experience trauma, whether through combat exposure, military sexual trauma, or other events during their service. This is why veterans display higher rates of alcoholism than their civilian counterparts.
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Often, veterans develop PTSD or another mental health issue as a result of their service, then cope with those symptoms via alcoholism. VA disability services, however, can be complicated to navigate as a servicemember with alcoholism.
VA Disability Services for Alcoholism
When it comes to medical treatment for alcoholism, VA disability services do not cover services directly and solely caused by alcoholism. However, this does not mean that veterans can’t get support for alcoholism and the problems that it causes.
While the VA does not cover alcoholism-related medical care directly, it may cover treatment for alcoholism that is caused by a service-related mental health issue. For example, a veteran may return home with PTSD and start drinking to treat their mental illness symptoms. Over time, this could lead to chronic kidney disease. When the veteran goes in for treatment for the kidney disease, they may be able to receive VA disability-funded care since alcoholism acts as a middle man between the PTSD and kidney disease. In this way, veterans can have issues caused by alcoholism defined as service-connected issues.
The important factor here is that, in order to receive disability services, the alcoholism cannot be a result of what the VA calls “willful misconduct.” This is defined by the VA as “an act involving conscious wrongdoing or known prohibited action.” In order to deny benefits based on willful misconduct, the VA would have to prove that the veteran’s addiction was not caused by a service-related mental health issue.
But just because alcoholism cannot be directly used to ensure VA disability coverage does not mean that the VA will not help you with your addiction to alcohol. In fact, the VA covers many treatment options for veterans living with alcohol addiction.
How the VA Helps Veterans with Alcohol Addiction
The VA proudly helps veterans afford treatment for alcohol addiction, PTSD, and other invisible service injuries. They do this by providing coverage for evidence-based addiction treatment, such as:
In this way, you can still use your VA benefits to get support for alcohol addiction. But it’s important to make sure that you choose a veteran-focused rehabilitation center that is fully equipped to help you throughout your recovery.
Heroes’ Mile is a veteran rehab center in DeLand, Florida, and we are proud to work as Community Care Partners with our local VA. If you’re ready to use your VA benefits to get help for alcohol addiction, then we’re ready to help you accomplish your goal. Our veteran-exclusive treatment center has many military personnel on staff, so you can get the peer-to-peer support that makes all the difference in getting and staying sober.
If you’d like to learn more about how we help veterans just like you, call our admissions specialists at 888-838-6692 or ask your questions online. Veterans can heal best when in a sober environment filled with other vets, addiction specialists, and mental health experts.
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