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Alcohol Abuse Affects Everyone Involved


By: Kristin Shives
TRICARE Management Activity

Meeting friend for after work drinks and socializing is a common event for many people. However, the less expensive drinks and carefree atmosphere at happy hour events can lead some to binge drink and binge drinking often leads to severe intoxication.

So, what is binge drinking? Binge drinking is having five or more drinks during a single occasion for men and four or more drinks during a single occasion for women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say heavy drinking is considered having more than two drinks per day for men and more than one drink per day for women.

TRICARE beneficiaries can reduce the risk of alcohol dependency by keeping an eye on their consumption and refraining from binge drinking.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends the following strategies:

  • Keep track of drinking and set a limit
  • Avoid places where heavy drinking occurs
  • Seek help from a doctor, family or friends
  • Keep a limited supply of alcohol in the home

Alcohol affects every organ in the body, according to CDC. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that is quickly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. Liver enzymes metabolize alcohol, but the liver can only metabolize a small amount at a time. The excess alcohol is then left to circulate through the body and the effects on the body are directly linked to the amount of alcohol consumed.

Alcohol abuse can lead to the development of chronic problems, both medical and social. Medical disorders related to excessive drinking include liver disease, pancreatitis, cardiovascular problems, as well as psychiatric disorders. Traffic accidents, drowning and alcohol poisoning can also result from having too much to drink.

Beneficiaries can get help by discussing options with their primary care manager (PCM). To get assistance outside the military treatment facility a PCM must write a referral and any applicable co-pays or cost shares will apply. Using a network provider can reduce out-of-pocket costs. See specific coverage and limitation by filling out a profile at

Drinking responsibly is an easy lifestyle choice TRICARE beneficiaries can make for themselves and their family members. Find more information on alcohol consumption, alcohol abuse and treatment at

Last Updated 4/15/2014