Alcohol and Drug Misuse and Dependence
Alcohol and drug misuse can lead to serious health, relationship, employment, and legal problems. Problematic alcohol or drug use can also lead to dependence. Symptoms of dependence include tolerance, which is the ability to drink or use greater quantities over time, compulsive behavior, which is the inability to stop drinking or using in spite of negative life consequences, and withdrawal, which includes feeling sick and distressed when attempting to quit drinking or using drugs. Problems with drinking or drug use may occur in response to stress, or in combination with posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, or other medical conditions. Fortunately there are proven methods to help Veterans recover from alcohol or drug misuse and dependence, including mutual help groups and effective treatment.
VHA has many resources to help Veterans and their loved ones answer questions, find support, get treatment, and recover. Please click on the tabs above to find information on some of these resources.
You may be wondering if you have symptoms of alcohol/drug abuse or dependence. One way of determining that is to take a brief confidential and anonymous screen. Only you will see the results of the brief screen. None of the results are stored or sent anywhere. You can choose to print a copy of the results for your own records or to give to your physician or a mental health professional.
The Drinker’s Check- Up* is another anonymous self-guided online tool that allows you to develop a better understanding of your drinking, including any risk that it might pose to your health.
Abuse of substances such as alcohol, drugs, or tobacco, can lead to increased risk of injuries, accidents, or physical and mental health problems. Although quitting is difficult, you do not have to do it alone.