VetChange is an online self-management program to help Veterans and active duty military learn skills to better manage their drinking and PTSD symptoms. Non-Veterans and non-Servicemembers can also use VetChange.
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD provides this service.
VetChange is entirely self-guided. You will not have contact with mental health professionals to guide you or answer questions about the information presented or your personal situation. If you feel that you need personal help, visit resources for information on finding assistance.
VetChange is designed to help you gain control over drinking by either cutting down or stopping. If at any time while using VetChange you find that your drinking is increasing instead of decreasing, you could be at risk for experiencing more serious problems and may want to consider seeking personal assistance.
Some individuals may become physically dependent on alcohol if they have been drinking for a period of time. When a person is alcohol dependent, they may experience alcohol withdrawal if they suddenly stop drinking or drastically cut down. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal usually begin within a few hours of decreasing drinking and may include: tremors, sweating, elevated pulse and blood pressure, nausea, insomnia, anxiety, seizures, and possibly delirium. Stopping or cutting down on your own can be medically dangerous if you are physically dependent on alcohol.
If you suspect that you may be physically dependent on alcohol or you have experienced any withdrawal symptoms, please seek professional help before trying to stop or cut down on your own.
VetChange is focused on drinking, not drug use. If you are frequently or heavily using recreational drugs or are misusing medications (using more than prescribed by your doctor or using medications not prescribed for you), VetChange may not be suitable for you even if you are also having alcohol problems. Examples of recreational drugs include cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, or club drugs such as Ecstasy. Examples of commonly misused prescription drugs include pain killers (such as Oxycodone), tranquilizers (like Valium), stimulants (such as Adderall) or drugs to block withdrawal (like Suboxone).
Regular use of drugs is likely to interfere with your ability to stop or cut down on drinking, and stopping without medical intervention could be dangerous to your health. If you want or need help for drug problems, please visit resources.
VetChange helps you learn new skills to manage moods and possible emotional reactions to serving in combat. If at any time while using VetChange you feel overwhelmed by your emotions or believe that you have symptoms that are worsening (for example, feelings of sadness are getting more frequent or intense), we recommend that you seek in-person assistance.
If you feel at any time that you want to hurt yourself or anyone else, please go to the nearest emergency room or call 911. You can also call the Veterans Crisis Line any time at 1-800-273-8255.
Information we ask you to provide
To use VetChange, you must provide a user ID that you create (this does not have be your real name), a password that you create, your age, and your sex. We need this information to provide you with personalized guidance. If you decide not to provide this information, you cannot register for VetChange but you can still find other help on the resources page.
You have the option to provide your email address when you register, which will allow you to retrieve your username and reset your password if you forget. We also ask your ethnicity and Veteran status to help us understand who is using the site. Once registered, in order to gain the most benefit from VetChange you will have the option to enter additional personal information such as your thoughts, feelings, goals and strategies for cutting back or stopping your drinking, or reducing your stress. You may also choose to provide your mobile phone number to receive text messages from VetChange.
How we use the information you provide
The main purpose for the information we collect is to provide you feedback on your drinking and what it might mean for you, and also to offer you new ways of approaching things that may help you decrease any alcohol misuse and trauma-related problems that may trigger drinking. Some of the information that is saved will be presented to you again in future sessions. Information that you enter into the optional questionnaires will be used to present you with helpful feedback.
We will also collect anonymous summary statistics about patterns of use on the tools and pages on VetChange, in order to improve the service.
How your information is protected
Your participation and all your information will be kept confidential. Only authorized people (as explained below) have access to your information. VetChange uses secure databases and servers to store your data, and all data is transmitted, stored, and processed in a secure environment. All of your information is protected by firewalls, encryption, authenticated access, physical access control, policies for technical personnel, and other means to prevent access by anyone who is not supposed to see it. All systems are patched, monitored and scanned routinely for vulnerabilities and intrusions.
You are not required to provide identifying information to use VetChange. You may register and log in with an anonymous user ID and password. However, if you choose to provide an email address or mobile phone number in order to receive emails and text messages that may enhance your use of the service, you may tie your identity to data you enter. We take many safety measures to protect your privacy, but we cannot guarantee that your identity will never be known.
It is also important that you help maintain the privacy of your data on VetChange by keeping your login username and password secret, and also securing access to your email account and/or cell phone number if you choose to provide them. If you are worried that someone else may be using your login information, please let us know immediately, or change your password yourself through the My Profile setting page. Please note that emails and text messages you may choose to receive are not encrypted and should not be considered secure. Because of this, we only send emails and text messages with general information that doesn’t mention drinking or other specific health concerns.
Who has access to your information
You have continual access to your individual data. This access is available to you by entering the user name and password you created at registration.
In general, under federal law, identifiable health information is private. However, there are exceptions to this rule. In some cases, others may see your identifiable health information for purposes of administrative oversight, quality control, public health and safety, or law enforcement. VetChange administrators and contractors (computer programmers) will have access so that they may perform maintenance, troubleshooting, and updates to VetChange. We share your health information only when we must, and we ask anyone who receives it from us to protect your privacy. We will never sell, rent, or lease your information, and we will never voluntarily share identifying information about you without your permission.
Browser Cookies and IP Addresses
VetChange employs browser cookies to keep you logged into the website and anonymously associate your browsing activity with your stored data in order to personalize the information you see. VetChange does not link browser cookies with any information you submit during your site visit.
To improve the effectiveness of our program, VetChange utilizes cookies, web beacons, and similar technologies from third parties who collect or receive information from our website and use that information to provide measurement services and target ads. We employ these technologies only on web pages that do not require a VetChange registration or login, not on pages you visit after signing in. We cannot personally identify you with this data, nor do we tie it to information you submit on VetChange. You may opt out of the collection of this data and its use for advertising at http://www.aboutads.info/choices.
VetChange logs IP addresses, or the location of your computer on the Internet, whenever you request a web page from VetChange.org. For security reasons, VetChange records your logged IP address when you register for an account, and stores it in your data record. We do not use IP address logs to otherwise track your session or your behavior on our site, nor to personally identify you. We use your IP address solely for security systems administration and troubleshooting purposes.
Click the Close button to return to the registration page.
Where is the other VetChange?
A prior version of VetChange that was hosted on a VA website is no longer available. This newer version contains all the features of the older one, plus many enhancements including a new learning module and videos. If you used the former version, you may create a free account here to set up your goals and plans again, use the new features, and continue monitoring your progress.