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Women Veterans Health Care

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Health Awareness Campaign: Substance Abuse and Treatment

Women Veterans Health Care has created materials to raise awareness of substance abuse and resources for treatment

Thumbnail image of substance abuse poster: It's hard to come back from addiction. Let VA help.

Substance Abuse Poster (465.8 KB, PDF)
Number: IB 10-339SM
Dimensions: 8.5" x 11"

Substance Abuse Poster (1.25 MB, PDF)
Number: IB 10-340LG
Dimensions: 11" x 17"




Substance Abuse among Veterans

On average, more than 7 percent of Veterans annually report a substance use disorder, according to the Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report.* Younger Veterans are more likely to have a history of substance abuse, and one-fifth of Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are diagnosed with a substance use disorder.

Though more men than women Veterans are treated for substance abuse, the number of women Veterans admitted to treatment programs has been on the rise. More than half of women Veterans in these programs are treated for alcohol abuse and more than one-fifth for cocaine use, followed by opiates, marijuana, and other drugs. Read the Veterans in Substance Abuse Treatment report* to learn more.

Challenges, Treatment for Women

Women face a unique set of challenges associated with their military service that can lead to substance abuse. Studies indicate they are twice as likely as men to develop posttraumatic stress disorder, twice as likely to have serious psychological distress, and approximately one out of five women Veterans reports military sexual trauma (196.7 KB, PDF).

Effective, scientifically proven treatments for substance abuse problems are available through the VA. Sometimes substance abuse requires continuous care over a long period, while other times it can be resolved more quickly. Options include therapy, either alone with a therapist or in a group, as well as medications. Each VA facility has a Women Veterans Program Manager available to assist women Veterans in getting the help they need.

About Women Veterans

Women are now the fastest growing subgroup of U.S. Veterans. The number of women Veterans is expected to increase dramatically in the next 10 years, and VA health care is in high demand by the women Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Department of Veterans Affairs understands the health care needs of women Veterans and is committed to meeting these needs. Women Veterans served and they deserve the best quality care. Learn more about VA health care services for women Veterans.


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*By clicking on these links, you will leave the Department of Veterans Affairs Web site.