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Alcohol Misuse

In the military, alcohol misuse can impact mission readiness and productivity, as well as service members’ physical and mental health. The Department of Defense (DOD) regularly tracks alcohol use in the military. Findings from the 2018 Department of Defense Health Related Behaviors Survey of Active Duty Military Personnel indicated that 34 percent of service members were engaged in binge drinking (consuming five or more drinks on the same occasion for men and four or more drinks on the same occasion for women), 9.8 percent drank heavily (binge drinking on at least one or two days a week), and 6.2 percent experienced one or more serious consequences from drinking. The percentage of both binge drinking and heavy drinking was highest in the Marine Corps, and the Air Force had the lowest percentages of these drinking patterns.

The 2015 VA/DOD Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Substance Use Disorders provides guidance relating to screening for alcohol misuse and recommended treatment options. Providers should also stay apprised of the latest DOD policy guidance on substance misuse. The Psychological Health Center of Excellence (PHCoE) has created substance use disorder clinical support tools for providers, patients, and families based on the guidance in the clinical practice guideline.

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Last Updated: December 12, 2023
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