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The Drinker's Check-Up

Contributed by Ken Weingardt, Ph.D.

Seeing your provider for regular check-ups is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your health and well-being. Check-ups allow your provider to look you over from head to toe. This is your opportunity to work with your provider to catch problems before they become serious. Your provider also wants to know what may be troubling you. You may be feeling sad, fearful, or coping with the loss of a loved one. You may also want to change some habits, like stopping smoking or stopping drinking.

If you are wondering about your drinking, the Drinker's Check-Up may help you answer these questions:

  • Is my drinking normal?

  • What are the accepted safe drinking guidelines?

  • Do I have any signs of alcohol dependence?

  • Have I had any bad experiences because of drinking?

  • What are the costs of my drinking?

  • Do I have any risk factors for developing a serious problem?

The Drinker's Check-up is a self-guided online tool that allows you to develop a better understanding of your drinking. It also includes any risks that drinking might pose to your health. To begin the check-up you answer questions, such as what is your age & gender. There are also some questions about your drinking habits, for example, how much, and how often. Using this information, the check-up program will help you:

  • Learn how your drinking compares to other people your age

  • Develop a better understanding of any risks your drinking could pose

  • Consider whether you might want to change your drinking

  • Explore different ways to change

Only you can decide what, if anything, you would like to change. If you decide you would like to make a change, VA stands ready to help.

Where Can I Find Help?

  • Speak with your VA healthcare provider

  • Get in touch with the OEF/OIF Coordinator at your local VA Medical Center

  • Get in touch with your local Vet Center

  • Call VA's general information hotline 1-800-827-1000

Updated January 19, 2010