Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
Getting Help for Excessive Alcohol Use
Recent research has shown an increase in drinking patterns for many Americans, in part because of stress associated with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, there are many reasons to consider reducing the amount of alcohol a person consumes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive alcohol use is responsible for 95,000 deaths in the United States each year, including one in 10 deaths among working-age adults.
Excessive alcohol use includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, and any alcohol use by pregnant women or anyone younger than 21. Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks on an occasion for a woman or five or more drinks on an occasion for a man. Heavy drinking is consuming eight or more drinks per week for a woman or 15 or more drinks per week for a man.
Some symptoms to look for when identifying excessive alcohol use are nausea, sleeplessness, acting aggressively, irritably or hostility, drinking alone, hiding alcohol, losing interest in goals and hobbies, and harming oneself or others while drinking heavily.
Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems, to include alcohol use disorder and issues with learning, memory, and mental health. Chronic health conditions that have been linked to excessive alcohol use include high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver damage, and cancer.
For Veteran’s and their families who are interested in reducing their alcohol intake, it’s important to take into consideration factors such as age, gender, past experiences ― to include military service, and where a person now is in their life. For example, research has shown a link to higher rates of problematic alcohol use for Veterans who experienced trauma while serving in the military. Other stressors that may affect Veteran alcohol use as they readjust to civilian life include divorce, job loss and financial issues.
If you are a Veteran who is tired of feeling the need to drink to create the illusion of normalcy, please reach out to us for support! At Truman VA, we offer medical, social, vocational, and rehabilitation therapies to eligible Veterans. For more information regarding addiction treatment at Truman VA, please call (573) 814-6486.