Alcohol is commonly used by service members and civilians alike. It is sometimes used as a social activity with your buddies or a way to cope with stress. Either way, alcohol use can sometimes become harmful without realizing it. Always reach out to a health care provider to discuss your individual situation. First signs of alcoholism.
Alcohol misuse can be serious and may negatively affect many areas of your life. Also, it may affect your mission readiness. This puts fellow service members at risk and can have major consequences to your military career. Fortunately, there are many resources that can help you overcome unhealthy alcohol use.
How Much Is Too Much?
It might be difficult to understand what is considered harmful drinking, or even what counts as a “ drink.” Although every person is different, use the following information from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as a guide:
Binge: Five drinks or more over a two-hour period
Low-Risk: No more than three drinks on any day, seven drinks per week
At-Risk: More than three drinks on any day, seven per week
Binge: Four drinks or more over a two-hour period
Early signs of drinking problem
Consequences of Harmful Drinking
Misusing alcohol can have serious psychological and physical consequences. It can also hurt your relationships, lead to financial trouble, impair decision-making, and cause you to put yourself or others in danger.
Chronic at-risk drinking is linked to a number of psychological health concerns such as:
Alcohol misuse is also associated with a number of health concerns, like
Harm to liver and pancreas
Chance of heart disease and brain damage
Increased risk of cancer
Sustained use can put you at risk for dependence, also called alcohol use disorder. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, some warning signs of alcohol use disorder include:
Drinking more or longer than intended
Trying to cut down or stop, but unable
Having a strong urge or need to drink
Interfering with daily life
Having withdrawal symptoms (e.g., trouble sleeping, shakiness and nausea)
First signs of a drinking problem
Consider a Change
Alcohol use may not feel like a bad habit, even if it is negatively affecting you. Take time to think about your alcohol use to help determine if you should make a change. Using a pro and con worksheet can help. If the pros outweigh the cons, you may be ready to seek care.
Talk with your health care provider if you have questions or concerns about your drinking. Your provider can offer more information on responsible drinking and ways to quit. It’s okay if you are unsure about your drinking habits or not sure a change is needed.
Remember, reaching out is a sign of strength. If you or a loved one needs additional support, contact the DCoE Outreach Center 24/7 to confidentially speak with a trained health resource consultant, call 866-966-1020 or use the Real Warriors Live Chat. You can also visit our " Seek Help, Find Care ” page to see a list of key psychological health resources.