New First Responders Program at River Oaks


River Oaks Treatment Center has long been a leading provider of addiction treatment in the Tampa area, yet addiction comes in many different forms. Our personal experiences are all unique, and as a result what drives individuals to abuse substance can highly nuanced. As a result, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to addiction treatment.

Where standard treatment falls short, specialty treatment tracks can pick up the slack. River Oaks recently introduced a new first responders specialty treatment track. The Veterans and First Responders Program is designed to address the unique stresses that lead to substance abuse and prevent these groups from finding lasting recovery.

First Responders at River Oaks

First responders often face unique struggles when dealing with addiction. Due to the high-stress nature of a first responder’s work, they may be more susceptible to addiction and unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance abuse. Veterans, emergency medical technicians, firefighters, and other first responders face higher rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The staff at River Oaks recognizes this and has designed their first responders program to address these unique struggles. The program offers a number of group therapy sessions and individual treatment methods. The focus of sessions can be managing stress, compassion fatigue, balancing work, family and health, increasing self-care, and building a strong support system.

“The initial hesitancy to speak up…about mental health and substance use issues among first responders is a substantial hurdle to overcome,” said Christine Hernando, a licensed mental health counselor and the primary therapist of the first responders program at River Oaks. “That is why this group exists,” Hernando continued, “to give this population a chance to share and health with others who ‘get it’.”

Finding Help at River Oaks

Remember that if you are a veteran or first responder struggling with addiction, there is help out there. The Veterans and First Responders program at River Oaks is open to all first responders seeking treatment for substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders. Don’t wait to start your journey to recovery.



About The Contributor

Timothy Esteves
Timothy Esteves

Community Content Editor

Timothy Esteves is the Community Content Editor at American Addiction Centers. Tim received his B.A. in English with an emphasis on literature from Denison University. He got his start as an editor working with students at the Denison University... Read More


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