Serving on the front lines is a calling for many. Whether via military service, working as a first responder, or providing healthcare as a medical professional, we’re grateful to the servicemembers who put themselves at risk every day to help others. This work is not easy and while it can be fulfilling, it often comes at a personal sacrifice. Veterans and first responders struggle with increased rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorder (SUD). They experience traumatic events, often daily, without the time needed to properly address and begin healing from these events. When someone is in a constantly heightened state because of a trauma response, their body and brain don’t have the opportunity to decompress and deal, rather, they stay heightened and live in a survival mode of sorts.
On average about 7-8 percent of the United States population will have a PTSD diagnosis. Roughly 8% of the US population has an SUD diagnosis at any given time. These figures jump significantly when correlated to veterans and first responders. Anywhere from 11-20 percent of veterans will be diagnosed with PTSD and 20 percent with PTSD will also have SUD. 1 in 10 veterans returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who were seen in the VA were diagnosed with a problem with alcohol and/or other drugs. Substance use and mental health needs are often underreported by both the civilian population and the military/first responders. There are a variety of reasons that contribute to this, including shame, guilt, fear of job loss, etc. The reality is that our first responders and veterans are struggling at higher rates than others and need a safe space to receive appropriate treatment.
Defining Wellness Centers medical team and clinical team is headed by individuals who have worked with military personnel and first responders for years, making significant strides in providing treatment for PTSD, trauma, depression, and addiction. Our Medical Director, Dr. Allyn Resch, worked at the VA for several years treating both military personnel and their families. Through her experience, Dr. Resch knows how difficult mental health and addiction can be for all involved and understands the trauma that impacts veterans and first responders. Her experience is beneficial in helping each person to heal.
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