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Veteran Drug Rehab in Tennessee

Depressed veteran listens to his supportive counselor during therapy session in Tennessee

Published: July 25, 2023

Military service comes with a high-stress lifestyle, and it is not uncommon to find many veterans with a substance use disorder.

If you’re a veteran in Tennessee seeking rehab for drug or alcohol abuse, there are plenty of options for you within the state, including those covered by Tricare, Medicare, Medicaid, and VA health benefits. The treatment centers can either be residential or outpatient.

Addiction treatment services include medical detox, therapy, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and even special programs for veterans. Some drug rehab centers also offer help for co-occurring mental health issues.

Drug And Alcohol Addiction In Veterans

Drug and alcohol abuse is more prevalent among veterans and military personnel than in civilians. Stress, trauma, and other risk factors, as well as issues with mental health, may play a role in veterans abusing alcohol and other drugs.

Check out these facts to learn how alcohol and drug addiction affects veterans:

  • About 11% of veterans seeking help for the first time at VA healthcare facilities meet the criteria for a substance use disorder diagnosis.
  • About 2.3% of veterans had both a substance abuse issue and a mental illness.
  • Veterans with high levels of combat exposure are much more likely to engage in heavy drinking (26.8%) compared to others (17%).
  • About 27% of veterans with substance use disorders were addicted to illicit drugs.
  • Among those abusing illicit drugs, marijuana is the most common, accounting for 3.5% of reported cases.
  • PTSD and other mental health disorders increase the likelihood that veterans would receive higher doses of opioid medications by three times.

Among opioid drug prescription abuse, the majority were oxycodone (46.9%), hydrocodone (39.5%), and codeine (6.8%).

Scope Of Veterans In Tennessee

Tennessee is home to nearly 450,000 veterans, accounting for 8.2% of the state’s population. Out of the state’s veterans, 6.3% live in poverty, and about 700 are homeless. In addition, 4.5% of retired military service members are unemployed, below the national average of 5.3%.

Poverty, homelessness, and unemployment are some of the contributing factors to substance abuse among veterans.

For those seeking behavioral health care, there are 30 facilities in the VA healthcare system within the state. And 28% of veterans seeking medical help use the medical care provided at such facilities.

Veteran Risk Factors For Substance Abuse

Whether active duty or veterans, people in military service are more prone to abuse substances for several reasons.

This may be particularly true for retired military personnel who served in highly stressful environments like war or a challenging tour.

Some factors that increase the risk of alcohol and drug abuse among veterans include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Severe physical injuries, such as loss of limbs or paralysis
  • Domestic violence
  • Chronic pain
  • Other untreated mental health issues
  • Problems adjusting back to civilian life after service
  • Challenges finding work
  • Homelessness
  • Problems reconnecting with friends and family members

Addiction Treatment Programs For Veterans In Tennessee

There are different treatment and rehabilitation programs to help you overcome an alcohol or drug addiction. Your first decision would be whether to get inpatient or outpatient treatment.

You can either be in a short-term or a long-term residential treatment plan for inpatient treatment. On the other hand, you can get partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient (IOP), or general outpatient treatment if living outside the facility.

Each of these levels of care serves a different purpose to help you enter addiction recovery. A healthcare provider should be able to help you decide which treatment plan is right for you.

Substance abuse treatment options for veterans may also include:

  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with medications like Suboxone and methadone
  • Detoxification programs
  • 12-step programs
  • Dual diagnosis treatment co-occurring mental issues
  • Relapse prevention support
  • Individual, group, and family therapy
  • Behavioral therapy such as CBT and DBT, and motivational interviewing
  • Aftercare
  • Sober living options
  • Specialized programs for young adults, seniors, pregnant women, and other groups

Within the state, you can also find specialized rehab programs tailored to the specific needs of veterans.

Mental Health & Dual Diagnosis Programs For Tennessee Vets

Mental health problems frequently accompany substance use disorders in veterans. Dual diagnosis is the treatment of these co-occurring disorders alongside rehabilitation for drug addiction.

Some commonly occurring dual diagnoses include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Panic disorders
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Since mental health issues and substance abuse are closely linked, they generally feed into each other, meaning that poor mental health often worsens drug addiction and vice versa.

A dual-diagnosis rehab program aims to treat mental and substance abuse disorders, thereby increasing the chance of long-term recovery. The treatment of mental illness and drug dependence may involve the use of medications, individual and group therapy, and holistic therapies.

Behavioral therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) have also been effective treatments for veterans with mental health disorders.

Where Can You Find Veterans Rehab Programs In Tennessee?

There are plenty of treatment providers in Tennessee, each with its programs, therapies, and amenities.

For veterans, a good place to start are the local Veteran Affairs programs and hospitals available in most major cities, such as Nashville, Memphis, Murfreesboro, and Knoxville.

To help you locate the best options near you, you can also check out these resources:

Qualities To Look For In Tennessee Veterans Rehab Programs

A good rehab program is critical to finding the best help you need to overcome alcohol or drug addiction. When choosing a recovery center, ensure they are a reputable provider and offer the right programs for you.

One good quality to look for is whether the facility offers a specialized veterans program. These facilities often have tailored programs and qualified staff to take care of veterans adequately.

Other aspects to consider include:

  • Accreditations from reputable organizations such as the Joint Commission and CARF
  • Certifications and accolades
  • Positive client testimonials and ratings
  • Low staff-to-client ratio
  • Evidence-based treatment options
  • High success rate
  • An aftercare plan

Health Insurance Coverage For Tennessee Veterans Drug Rehab

Veterans needing help for substance misuse shouldn’t have to worry about the cost. Services are always accessible, often at low or no cost, through insurance.

Veterans can take advantage of programs covered by TRICARE insurance, VA health benefits, or private insurance.


TRICARE is a military insurance program the Department of Defense (DOD) provides to care for the health needs of current and retired military members and their families.

Your insurance plan will inform you how much coverage is approved for your treatment and the range of facilities you can use.

VA Health Benefits

Veterans with substance use problems can get help through the VA. As with TRICARE, your coverage will also depend on the amount approved for your care.

VA health benefits may include inpatient or outpatient care, as well as detoxification, counseling, and continuing care.

Check a VA addiction treatment program near you to find out whether you are eligible for these benefits.

Private Insurance Plans

Some medical centers do not accept TRICARE and other similar plans, particularly luxury rehab centers.

For these programs, you typically can use self-pay or private health insurance if you’re covered.

Barriers To Addiction Recovery For Tennessee Veterans

Veterans who seek drug abuse treatment may encounter certain challenges in their quest for recovery.

Some obstacles to recovery include:

  • The stigma associated with drug abuse among military personnel and veterans
  • Waitlists
  • Financial challenges
  • Lack of support from family and friends
  • Inadequate mental health services

To help you overcome these challenges, here are some guides you may find resourceful.

Resources For Tennessee Veterans

If you’re a veteran in Tennessee seeking help, here are some valuable resources:

  • Operation Stand Down Tennessee ​— This community-based intervention program provides legal aid, family support and basic needs aid, career services, transitional housing, and many other services.
  • Tennessee Veteran Services Offices — This organization offers a wide variety of services and resources about education, insurance, pensions and financial aid, employment help, and much more for veterans and their family members.

Find Tennessee Veterans Substance Abuse Treatment

It is never too late to get treatment for an addiction. If you or a loved one is a veteran in Tennessee and seeking substance abuse rehabilitation, please know that you are not alone.

When you are prepared to begin treatment and recovery, call our helpline. We have trained professionals on the line who can assist you in finding a drug and alcohol rehab center close to you.

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