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Women Veterans Health Care

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Women & Alcohol

Unhealthy alcohol use affects women Veterans of all ages. What is considered unhealthy alcohol use for women? What are the risks? Check out the facts below to see if your drinking patterns are within healthy limits, or if you should look into some of the ways VA can help you get healthier.

How much is too much?

Women’s bodies react differently to alcohol than men’s, which means that a lesser amounts of alcohol can affect women more in a number of different ways. To keep your risk low, stay within both the single-day and weekly limits.

  • No more than three drinks on any given day
  • No more than seven drinks in a week

What is “one drink?” It can be any of these:

  • 12 ounces of beer (a single can or bottle)
  • 5 ounces of wine (a single average glass)
  • 1.5 ounces of liquor (a single shot)

What are the risks of unhealthy alcohol use?

Short Term: Impaired judgment (including sexual decision making), temporarily compromised immune system, loss of coordination, depression.

Long Term: Liver damage (Alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, fatty liver, fibrosis), alcohol dependence, heart damage (including cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, stroke, high blood pressure), pancreatitis, weakened immune system, depression, cognitive dysfunction, increased breast cancer risk.

Family: Alcohol use by women Veterans or their partners can affect the entire family in the form of neglect, physical abuse, and emotional abuse.

Pregnancy: Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause complications and health problems for the baby, including abnormal facial features, difficulty learning to talk, learning disabilities, and low birth weights.

Are you high-risk? VA can help

Talk to your primary care or mental health provider, or contact them through My HealtheVet. They can help you find the treatment that’s right for you. Many VA sites also have drop in substance abuse treatment programs, including women-only group sessions

Women Veterans Program Managers: All VA medical centers and many Vet Centers have a designated Women Veterans Program Manager to help women Veterans access VA benefits and health care services. To find the VA medical center or Vet Center nearest you, call 1-877-222-8387 or visit www.va.gov/directory.

Women Veteran Call Center: Women Veterans can call 1-855-VA-WOMEN (1-855-829-6636) to ask questions about available VA services and resources.

Further Resources:


Health Awareness Campaigns: Alcohol Awareness Poster
Dimensions: 11x17", (580 KB, PDF) 8.5x11", (966 KB, PDF)
16:9", (1.3 MB, PDF)

Thumbnail of Healthy Awareness Poster: Alcohol Awareness

Health Awareness Campaigns: Alcohol Awareness Version2
Dimensions: 11x17'', (1.2 MB, PDF) 8.5x11", (584 KB, PDF)


Thumbnail of Healthy Awareness Poster: Alcohol Awareness

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