Military Personnel and Binge Drinking

In 2005 the Department of Defense surveyed over 16,000 active-duty military personnel to study their health-related behaviors. The University of Minnesota and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the following results in relation to military personal and binge drinking behavior:

  • 43 percent of active duty personnel admitted to binge drinking during the past month. This means an estimated 30 million binge drinking episodes occur annually in active-duty military personal.
  • Close to two-thirds of these reported episodes came from troops between the ages of 17-25
  • Active-duty military personnel under the legal drinking age accounted for 5 million binge drinking episodes that year

Alcoholism is quite a problem among the military, so get help today for any drinking problems you have.

Why is Binge Drinking Such a Problem among Military Personnel?

Alcohol abuse and binge drinking are common among military personnel because down-time is limited, so people drink large quantities in a short period of time. Military personnel also seek the approval of their peers, so not drinking may cause feelings of weakness. There are many factors that may contribute to alcohol abuse or binge drinking among military personnel, such as the following:

  • Using alcohol to cope with negative feelings. Military personnel often feel lonely, bored, homesick, stressed, frightened or guilty while away from loved ones and the comforts of home.
  • Aside from their duties, military personnel may be bored with their environment, peers or lack of recreational activities, so they may abuse alcohol to distract or entertain themselves.
  • Glamorization of alcohol. With parties, camaraderie and the celebration of success and accomplishments, this culture has long-glamorized the use of alcohol for having a good time.
  • Distraction. Active-duty personnel and those overseas face high-stress situations on a consistent basis. Alcohol can distract people from the intense and exhausting environment.
  • Easily accessible. Military personnel, especially those under the age of 21, have easy access to alcohol from peers or servers who are reluctant to ask for identification of a military member.

For these reasons, military personnel may readily abuse alcohol.

What are the Consequences of Binge Drinking in the Military?

Binge drinking among military personnel, especially for active-duty members, is incredibly dangerous for the member, her troop and for civilians. Possible threats and consequences that may arise from binge drinking by military personnel include the following:

  • Increased risk of dependence or addiction
  • Inability to perform duties and carry out responsibilities
  • Involuntary discharge from the military
  • Operating heavy machinery or driving under the influence
  • Unintentional injuries, traffic injuries, falls, drowning, burns or unintentional firearm injuries
  • Violent behavior, partner violence and violence at home
  • Lack of inhibitions, rational thinking and judgment increases the risks of reckless behavior, criminal activity, rape, sexual assault, unprotected sex or transmitting/contracting sexually transmitted diseases
  • Alcohol poisoning, possibly fatal
  • Decline in health; heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, pancreatitis, weight gain, cancer, depression, anxiety, lung stomach and intestinal problems, impaired brain function and more

To avoid these problems and others, get help for alcoholism.

Find Alcohol Abuse Help for Military Personnel

There is alcohol abuse help available for military personnel and their families. We can connect you with individualized treatment that works with your unique issues. If you would like specialized treatment and recovery help, please call our toll-free helpline. We are available 24 hours a day to assist you with all of your questions, concerns and needs, and can help you find the right solutions for recovery.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email