Know the Facts: Binge Drinking and Alcohol Abuse Among Military Veterans

Alcohol use disorders (AUD) are prevalent in the military and with veterans who return stateside after active duty. Additionally, binge drinking is a risk factor for AUD. In 2015, data showed that approximately one-third of service members were found to be binge drinkers, and over one-third met the criteria for AUD. Service members who are on active duty report “more substance use disorders linked to alcohol than any other drug,” and this substance abuse is also true for veterans.

Studies and Statistics on Alcohol Abuse Among Military Veterans

Alcohol Abuse Among Military VeteransWhen veterans develop AUD, it's often to mask the triggers and memories of life-changing events they’ve either been involved in or witnessed during service. Alcohol becomes a coping mechanism for the physical and emotional trauma of those events.

Here are some statistics about alcohol abuse among military veterans:

  • 1 in 10 veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has a problem with drugs or alcohol.
  • Approximately 8 out of 10 Vietnam veterans who suffer from and seek treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have problems with alcohol abuse.
  • Veterans who suffer from PTSD may be more vulnerable to alcohol abuse.
  • Veterans age 65 and older who have a mental health condition and/or AUD are at a higher risk for suicide.
  • Combat veterans who suffer from PTSD as well as alcohol problems tend to be binge drinkers.

Binge Drinking

Alcohol abuse among military veterans can have a severe, negative impact on active service members. Dangerous drinking patterns not only significantly affect the drinker’s personal life, professional goals and future, and wellbeing, they also impact loved ones. One such pattern is binge drinking. Approximately 23 percent of male veterans and 14 percent of female veterans reported participating in binge drinking.

Binge drinking involves consuming large quantities of alcohol at one time. For a man, this usually means drinking five or more drinks in a one­-to-two hour timeframe. For a woman, it means drinking four or more drinks in that time. Over half of the alcohol consumed by Americans is through binge drinking. While binge drinking isn’t the same as an AUD, it's a significant risk factor for developing an alcohol problem.

Our Nebraska-Based VA Disability Lawyers Help Veterans Nationwide Get The Disability Benefits They Deserve

At Cuddigan Law, our Nebraska VA disability lawyers understand that veterans who suffer from PTSD can face many types of other medical conditions, including alcohol use disorder. Our attorneys have supported veterans for years, and we can help you if you need VA disability benefits following a diagnosis of PTSD or any other health condition. Contact us today, and you’ll speak to an intake specialist for free.

Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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