Treat Addiction: Save a Life - VA North Texas Health Care System
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VA North Texas Health Care System

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Treat Addiction: Save a Life

The Substance Abuse Program at VA North Texas helps Veterans erase addiction in their lives.
Friday, April 13, 2012

We have an important mission to care for our Nation's Veterans. The health care we provide includes a variety of programs and services designed to meet their needs at any point in their lives. For some Veterans, addiction is a reality and we are here to help.

Addiction is a chronic medical disorder characterized by intense uncontrollable drug cravings, along with compulsive drug seeking. Addiction persists even in the face of devastating consequences. It affects multiple brain circuits including those involved in:

  • Learning and memory
  • Reward and motivation
  • Behavior control

Some individuals are more vulnerable than others to becoming addicted. It depends on genetic makeup, age of exposure to drugs, environmental influences and the interplay of all these factors.

Because addiction is a disease, people cannot simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured. Most patients require long term or repeated episodes of care to achieve the ultimate goal of sustained abstinence and recovery of their lives.

The substance abuse program at VA North Texas offers long term treatment to Veterans with addictive disorders. We utilize the latest evidence-based psychosocial and pharmacological treatments.

Several options are available for Veterans who need treatment for addiction. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Substance Abuse Residential Rehabilitation Program - Veterans reside at the medical center throughout the duration of the treatment, which is typically between 25-32 days. Services are provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Veterans are active in developing an individualized recovery treatment plan.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program for Substance Abuse - Veterans interested and referred to this program must be able to attend nine hours per week, three days per week for a total of 12 weeks. Group sessions are offered.
  • Maintenance/Aftercare Services for Substance Abuse - This is for Veterans who are abstinent from drugs and alcohol and wish to participate in ongoing 12 step meetings. No special referral is required.

Addictions don't have to control you. We encourage Veterans to seek assistance as soon as possible. Veterans should not hesitate to discuss addiction with their primary care doctor. The ultimate goal is to "Treat addiction and save lives," said Dr. Sidarth Wakhlu, Medical Director of Substance Abuse Team.


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