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Treatment and Recovery


Managing the transition to civilian life

In this powerful story of strength and resilience, Chaunte discusses the difficulties she faced while transitioning back to civilian life and the obstacles she overcame after experiencing military sexual trauma. Find out how she was able to triumph over adversity by getting help from VA.

Just like physical health, mental health is important at every stage of life and is essential to your overall well-being.

Although it is often easy for Veterans to recognize and treat their physical injuries, it can be harder to identify mental health or readjustment issues. Some Veterans may notice symptoms and experiences affecting their lives, but aren’t sure what to do about them. Others may think nothing can be done or may have concerns about ways treatment might impact their lives.

For almost every condition, there are a number of effective treatments that can help you cope with symptoms and greatly improve your quality of life. Treatments can involve counseling, medication, or a combination of these. You may need to work with your doctor or counselor and try different types of treatment before finding the one that’s best for dealing with your symptoms.

  • Counseling can help you learn new ways of thinking, practice positive behaviors, and take active steps to move beyond your symptoms. In recent years, new therapies have been developed and found to be effective for many types of conditions. Compared to some older forms of therapy, these so-called "cognitive behavioral" therapies are collaborative, time-limited, and focus on building skills to learn new ways of thinking, practice positive behaviors, and take active steps to move beyond your symptoms.
  • Medications work in different ways to affect the chemicals in your brain that may be associated with specific conditions.
  • In just a few months, most treatments can produce positive and meaningful changes in symptoms and quality of life for people who use them. They can help you understand and change how you think about your condition—and change how you react to triggers, stressful situations, and other challenges in your life.

Some conditions occur along with other mental or physical problems, which may mask your symptoms or make them worse. Other times, people may have problems with alcohol or drugs that make it difficult to move forward. In some cases, it will be important to treat these other problems, as well, in order to get the full benefits from your treatment.

Mental health recovery is a process that involves developing hope, self-direction, empowerment, respect and peer support—all while working closely with someone trained to guide you in your recovery when needed. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) specializes in the care and treatment of Veterans. In recent years, research from around the world has dramatically increased our understanding of mental health conditions and how to treat them. Several million Veterans have gotten treatment for mental health conditions and found solutions for improving their lives. Treatment works and recovery is possible.

Whether you just returned from a deployment, were stateside for your whole time in service, or have been home for 40 years, it’s never too late to get professional treatment or support for the issues you’re dealing with. Receiving counseling or treatment as soon as possible can keep your symptoms from getting worse. Even Veterans who did not realize they were dealing with a mental health condition for many years have benefited from treatment and learned how to deal with their symptoms in new ways.

Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 Press 1