Does TRICARE Cover Alcohol Rehab?

If you’re struggling with an alcohol use disorder, you can be confident that your TRICARE insurance will cover treatment that will help get your life back on track. TRICARE covers several different types and levels of treatment for TRICARE enrollees.

However, like any insurance, your TRICARE coverage may vary specific to your plan type and location. 

Understanding Your TRICARE Alcohol Treatment Coverage

TRICARE will likely help cover expenses if a medical provider says treatment is a medical necessity — basically if your addiction affects your ability to function in everyday life, or if your withdrawal symptoms are so severe that you require medical assistance.

Like all insurance providers, TRICARE must meet standards established by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Keep in mind that some plans, and some forms of treatment, require prior authorization.

The TRICARE Network

In-network alcohol substance abuse treatment providers have negotiated with TRICARE to establish an agreement for fair and reasonable pricing. However, you may be required to pay a small out-of-pocket deductible or co-pay. 

Some TRICARE plans, including TRICARE Select, Young Adult Select, Reserve Select, Prime Remote, and Family Health, offer members an option to select an out-of-network provider. If you’re covered by one of these plans and opt for out-of-network treatment, you may need to file individual claims, and you will probably pay higher out-of-pocket expenses. 

TRICARE Covers Various Levels of Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Your TRICARE plan may cover inpatient treatment for an alcohol use disorder.

  • If you need emergency inpatient treatment, TRICARE will cover detox, stabilization, and medications to help manage withdrawal and any medical complications that may arise. No referral or pre-authorization is required for emergency treatment; still, if you’re admitted for continued treatment, you’ll need authorization, and somebody must inform your regional contractor within 72 hours of admission.
  • Treatment is considered non-emergency if you seek treatment on your own. TRICARE will cover detox and stabilization and may help cover treatment for depression, PTSD, or other co-occurring mental health issues. Prior authorization and referrals are required for all non-emergency inpatient treatment or residential rehab. Your regional contractor can provide specifics on authorization requirements.

You may have access to various levels of outpatient treatment, depending on your level of need. In most cases, authorization isn’t required for outpatient treatment, but you may need a referral before you get started. 

  • Standard outpatient treatment is often suitable for people with less severe addiction, and typically involves one visit to a treatment provider per week. 
  • Intensive outpatient (IOP) typically involves about six hours of treatment per week, which may be during the day, or evenings, nights, or weekends. 
  • Partial hospitalization (PHP), also known as day treatment, is the most intensive outpatient treatment. It involves attendance five to seven days per week, up to eight hours per day, but you’ll go home every night. Partial hospitalization works well for people who need a higher level of care (but not full-time), or have completed inpatient treatment.

Can I Use My VA Health Care Benefits With TRICARE?  

Yes, you can use VA health care benefits along with your TRICARE plan; your TRICARE coverage doesn’t affect your VA healthcare benefits. The VA has behavioral healthcare programs in VA facilities across the United States, and most are TRICARE network providers. 

However, veterans are the primary beneficiaries of VHA, and care at VA facilities is available to TRICARE enrollees on a space-available basis. Check with your regional contractor or the representative at your local VA healthcare facility for specifics on how VA benefits and TRICARE coverage work together. Also, note that requirements for pre-authorizations and referrals aren’t necessarily the same. 

Don’t Wait to Get Started

We are proud to accept TRICARE at 1st Step Behavioral Health. Our treatment professionals will discuss your options and work with you to ensure you receive the best treatment for your particular needs. We can verify your benefits package immediately, and we’ll let you know if any prior authorizations are needed. Please pick up the phone and give 1st Step a call at 855-425-4846 or contact us online

Your First Day – What to Expect from Rehab

If you’re heading into rehab or are considering it, it makes sense that you would be concerned about what you will encounter on your first day in a drug and alcohol treatment center. For most people who go into rehab, the following topics discuss what they will experience.


Signing Up and Checking In

After you contact us and set a time and date for your entrance into a First Step Behavioral Health inpatient rehab program, the time between that call and checking in to rehab should be spent informing those who need to know that you will be spending some time away to heal yourself.

On the day you check in, you will arrive at the facility and complete some paperwork regarding your medical state, mental health, and more. If you have not already set up a way to pay for rehab, you will do so before checking in. The staff at this time will also help talk to your health insurance to see if they will cover the costs.

Note: in some instances of rehab, the patient will also go through medical and mental health assessments immediately after checking in.


Your Room and the Grounds

Once checked in, the staff will give you a brief tour of the rehab center, which will include important locations that you will need to go to during certain activities and drug addiction treatment therapies. You will also be shown to your room at this time.


Contraband Checks

In your room, you and a staff member will check the belongings you brought with you to rehab to ensure no contraband has been brought through the facility’s doors.



While much of the time on your first day will be spent answering questions and acquainting yourself with the rehab center, you will probably be on site during dining hours. If you have an appetite, you can eat with the rest of the patients during those mealtimes.


Detox Begins

The day you check in to rehab will also mark the day that you begin detox and your life of sobriety. Though detox is a challenge, our staff will help you through it – we know you can make it and better yourself for good.


residential alcohol detox program in florida

Residential Alcohol Detox | What is Wet Brain Syndrome?

Patients who enter a residential alcohol detox may seek withdrawal treatment for any number of substances. While not exceedingly common, those seeking treatment for alcohol withdrawal may sometimes suffer from a condition known as wet brain syndrome. In general, patients undergoing alcohol withdrawal should not detox outside of treatment in the first place; however, those at risk of developing wet brain syndrome should consider withdrawal treatment an especially urgent priority.

What is wet brain syndrome, and why is it so dangerous? Find the answers to these questions below, along with more information about how residential alcohol detox can help you to recover from the potential symptoms.

What is Wet Brain Syndrome?

Wet brain is another name for Wernicke-Korsakoff, a combination of two conditions called Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff’s amnesic syndrome (also known as Korsakoff’s psychosis). Both conditions result from a deficiency of thiamine, or vitamin B1. Many things can cause Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, but the nickname wet brain syndrome refers specifically to cases caused by alcohol abuse. Most patients who suffer from Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome will require extensive treatment, but residential alcohol detox will allow them to begin overcoming the initial and milder symptoms of the condition.

Wernicke-Korsakoff Symptoms

Alcoholics with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome will show symptoms of both conditions. Wernicke’s encephalopathy usually causes vision problems such as rapid back-and-forth eye movements and double vision, poor muscle coordination, confusion, and brain damage that may result in death or coma in extreme circumstances. In true cases of wet brain syndrome, it may also share symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, further necessitating the need for residential alcohol detox treatment.

Since about 80-90% of alcoholics with Wernicke’s also get Korsakoff’s, they will experience those symptoms as well. Korsakoff’s syndrome is a memory disorder that causes hallucinations, inability to form new memories, severe memory loss and confabulation of made-up stories with the truth.

Can Wet Brain Be Treated?

The good news is that those who suffer from wet brain syndrome do not always experience all associated symptoms. When a person experiences Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, what actually happens is that Wernicke’s encephalopathy develops into Korsakoff’s psychosis over time. Those who enter residential alcohol detox early enough may catch wet brain syndrome while it is still in the Wernicke’s stage, thereby preventing the worst of their symptoms with immediate treatment.

Symptoms directly related to thiamine deficiency will begin to reverse with proper medical care. Severe brain damage will be harder to treat, so those who enter residential detox in the initial stages of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome may wish to choose a dual diagnosis facility with experience treating mental disorders.

Residential Alcohol Detox for Wet Brain

Based on the above, you should have a decent idea of what you can expect if your drinking has been heavy enough to result in wet brain syndrome. If you worry that you may be at risk, or simply require residential detox treatment for alcohol withdrawal, 1st Step can help. Call us at (866) 319-6126 to discuss your treatment options. You can also take our virtual tour for a better look at our facilities.

alcohol dependence

How To Recognize Alcohol Dependence

Since social drinking is something that the majority of adults participate in, it can be challenging to tell the difference between casual consumption and alcohol abuse or dependence. By recognizing and identifying the signs of alcohol dependence, individuals can seek help for themselves or their loved ones sooner.

Chronically Neglected Responsibilities Resulting from Alcohol Dependence

Ultimately, those who are dependent on alcohol will make the consumption of alcohol a priority. All other responsibilities will become less important as a result. One way to determine that a person struggles with addiction to alcohol is when they neglect the things that are normally important in their lives.

Some of the responsibilities that might get ignored or neglected as a result of a dependence on alcohol can include:

  • Being on time to work
  • Spending time with friends and family
  • Coming home early enough to attend to responsibilities in the morning

This is just a small sample of possible neglected responsibilities. Keep an eye out for any other irregularities.

Legal and Financial Problems as a Result of Alcohol Dependence

Another way to recognize a dependence on alcohol is to look for new problems cropping up as a result of alcohol consumption. Driving while under the influence of alcohol, or losing a career because of alcohol-induced performance failures can lead to major financial woes as well as criminal charges. While these incidents can happen to those who don’t struggle with a substance abuse issue, they are more likely to occur among those dealing with a dependency on alcohol.

Increased Tolerance to Alcohol

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, chronic drinkers can display an increased tolerance to alcohol. In fact, they can seem to function well even when they have a high BAC, or blood alcohol concentration.

An alcohol dependence can mean that a person’s tolerance increases over time. They may require greater amounts of alcohol to have the same effect. Unfortunately, this means that those struggling with alcoholism tend to drink increasing amounts of alcohol. By doing this, they increase their risk of physical, mental health and relationship problems.

Withdrawal Symptoms Upon Reduced or Eliminated Intake

Many people associate withdrawal symptoms with a complete detox from alcohol, but those dependent on alcohol might already know that these symptoms can kick in on a regular basis. As dependence or addiction increases in severity, individuals can suffer from withdrawal symptoms just hours after last having a drink. It’s not unusual for those struggling with alcohol dependency to require an alcoholic beverage every few hours simply to function without the interference of withdrawal symptoms.

Once you recognize alcohol addiction, you can take action. Struggling with an addiction isn’t a life sentence, and 1st Step Behavioral Health in South Florida can help. Call us today at (866) 319-6126 to learn more about taking the next step on the path to lifelong sobriety.