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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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ADAPT: Champions Promoting healthy relationships with alcohol

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Senior Airman Stephanie Augst, 18th Operational Readiness Medical Squadron Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment technician, gives an alcohol abuse briefing at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Sept. 10, 2021. An ADAPT Champion is encouraged to speak at commander’s calls and host unit newcomers briefings to ensure they are a visible and familiar resource to their units.

People choose to drink alcohol for a variety of reasons — some drink to enhance social experiences while others drink as an avenue to escape their everyday problems.

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Substance Use Disorder Affects Families

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5/20/2021

This brochure provides information for military families about substance misuse and/or dependence and its impact on families.

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Preparing for Change Worksheet

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5/20/2021

This worksheet helps individuals to consider both the advantages of and drawbacks to drinking and reasons to change drinking habits.

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Stabilization Pocket Card

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This resource contains the stabilization algorithm from the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for Management of Substance Use Disorders, as well as information for providers on withdrawal assessment and management of substance use disorder.

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Alcohol Misuse: Facts About Risky Drinking

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This factsheet provides information on preventing risky drinking, indicators and impacts of risky drinking, and where to seek help.

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My Plan for Change Worksheet

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This worksheet helps individuals develop a plan for how to handle specific situations that may challenge drinking goals.

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Medications for the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder

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This guide for service members, veterans and their families provides information about medications used in the management of alcohol use disorder.

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Substance Use Disorder: What Line Leaders Need to Know

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This guide can help military leaders identify the signs of substance misuse and/or dependence, educate their service members about treatment options and policy, and address substance misuse early to support mission success, unit readiness, and service and family member fitness.

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Is Your Body Ready for Pregnancy? Pregnancy and Substance Use: It's Not Worth the Risk

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This brochure for patients provides information on how women and babies are impacted by alcohol, tobacco and drug use when trying to conceive and during pregnancy.

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Standard Drink Calculator

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This guide includes a calculator for the number of standard drinks per each common drink container and mixed drink type and a daily drink tracker to record drinking consumption and see trends in drinking over time.

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