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Curb alcohol abuse with help from TRICARE

(Graphic Courtesy of TriWest Healthcare Alliance)

(Graphic courtesy of TriWest Healthcare Alliance)


A single drink can have multiple effects on an individual. Depending on the
person, these could include difficulty walking, blurred vision, slurred
speech, slowed reaction times or impaired memory.

Those are just a few of the short-term effects.

Heavy drinking over a long period of time can lead to anxiety, depression,
blackouts or liver disease, not to mention the cumulative impact on spouses
and children.

Despite these dangers, the Department of Defense (DoD) estimates that nearly
a quarter of active duty service members (ADSM) consider themselves regular
heavy drinkers - defined as having five or more drinks at least once a week.
This habit can also negatively affect military careers and relationships.

Fortunately, the DoD offers resources to encourage responsible drinking or
eliminate drinking entirely as part of its TRICARE entitlement.

TRICARE Offers Behavioral Health Support

If there is a pattern of heavy drinking or changes in personality, help is

TRICARE covers certain treatments for abuse of alcohol and other substances.
To use TRICARE benefits, ADSMs must get a referral through their primary
care manager (PCM). 

Active duty family members may call 1-888-TRIWEST (874-9378) to see what
services are available in their area.

Any applicable co-pays or deductibles and cost-shares (based on the
sponsor's status and TRICARE program) will apply. Use network providers to
save money. Specific coverage and limitations are found at>Mental Health and Behavior>Types of
Treatment>Treatment for Substance Use Disorders. 

Steps to Curb Excessive Drinking

Drinking can have less of an impact if a person seeks help. For anyone
trying to cut back on their drinking, there are several steps to take:

Write it down. Keep track of how much alcohol is consumed on a
calendar or in a journal. By taking note of each drink, a person becomes

Know the numbers. Be aware of standard drink sizes-12 ounces of
regular beer, five ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits

Set limits. Decide when and how much to drink. The National
Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends that men limit
themselves to a maximum of two drinks per day and women no more than one
drink per day.

Use the buddy system. Just like on the battlefield, ensure that a
buddy is protected from danger. Confront that person if his or her drinking
is spiraling out of control.

Resources Available

Other support groups and therapy treatments are also available. Check out
these resources: Find an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting near you. Visit TriWest's Behavioral Health portal under 

Beneficiary Services" to watch streaming video of "Help From Home," which
offers advice from behavioral health experts who are also combat veterans
and military families that have coped with effects of combat stress. Learn about "That Guy" and the pitfalls of binge
drinking through humor, testimonials and video. Click on the "mind" tab on the left-hand
menu, then click "alcohol" for many resources available to active duty
service members and their families. Read and watch testimonials from other
service members describing how they overcame their post-deployment