Unhealthy alcohol use can affect women Veterans of all ages. But with a proper support team and treatment plan, recovery is achievable. It’s important to learn more about at-risk alcohol use and its potential impact on women Veterans, the fastest growing demographic of the U.S. Veteran population.

Understanding the unique risks to women Veterans is vital to making healthy choices. Research has shown that women break down alcohol at a slower rate than men. That means after drinking the same amount, women will have higher levels in their bloodstream and for longer periods of time.

On average, women develop medical complications, such as liver disease, sooner than men. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to ongoing developmental problems in children who were exposed in the womb.

Connecting women with alcohol treatment options

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 5.3 million U.S. women over the age of 18 had a drinking disorder in 2018. Among women Veterans who received VA care, 24% had engaged in binge drinking. In addition, rates ranged between 3% and 16% for a substance use disorder (SUD) among women Veterans overall.

VA health care provides many options for those seeking help through a comprehensive continuum of Substance Use Treatment Services. Every day, Veterans from all military branches and eras connect with resources and support to work on overcoming problems with alcohol.

There are health, wellness, substance abuse services and treatment programs at VA to help women Veterans who need alcohol-related interventions, including:

  • Primary health care support at your local VA medical center.
  • Individual and group therapy.
  • Medications.
  • Online tools and mobile apps to manage alcohol use or locate help.

Visit VA.gov for more information about women’s health care.

To search for SUD treatment through VA in your state, visit va.gov/directory/guide/SUD.

VA’s Women’s Health Services Office is part of The Women Veterans Health Program. It was created in 1988 to streamline services for female Veterans to provide more cost-effective medical and psychosocial care. VA’s Women’s Health Services Office provides programmatic and strategic support to implement positive changes in the provision of care for all women Veterans.

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Published on May. 7, 2020

Estimated reading time is 1.8 min.

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  1. Vanessa Dumas-Davis May 10, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    Hello Everyone women seeking recovery from substance is a critical health issue. Many life stresses less chances of females attending a recovery program. People also with high stress jobs like healthcare, law makers, and spritual leaders are the hardest hit with the current situation. I hope to become a part of the solution and contribute to the current health issue.
    Dr. Dumas-Davis!

  2. Richard G Kensinger May 8, 2020 at 11:40 am

    Based on my 5 decades as a BHC clinician, tho men are more likely to abuse alcohol, alcohol causes more morbidity for women. Mixing alcohol w/ cocaine can be fatal.
    Thank you for these resources!

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