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How do I Find Treatment for Alcohol Abuse?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Jan 24, 2024
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There are numerous ways to find treatment for alcohol abuse, and many of them are no more than a phone call or an Internet search away. In most communities, one of the most accessible treatments is a variety of 12-step programs, which are often run by the organization Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). However there are plenty of other treatment programs and severity of alcoholism may help determine which one is most beneficial.

First, it is very important that people consider the degree of alcohol addiction. Those who occasionally binge drink are not the same as those who routinely drink lots of alcohol and need it to survive the day. Alcohol addiction poses several problems. Detoxing from this addiction can be life-threatening if it is not done in the safety of a hospital or drug treatment program. Many people can suffer extremely severe side effects during the detox process, and most people will require medical support during this time. If unable to find an available drug or alcohol treatment facility nearby, those desirous of ending alcohol addiction should proceed to their nearest hospital, where they can get the medical care they need during the early stages of detoxification.

Not everyone will require medical care to conquer alcohol abuse. A person who doesn’t routinely drink, but who has just received a DUI may receive adequate help by joining an alcohol cessation program. Sometimes these programs are court-ordered and people will need to attend a certain amount of meetings and/or check into a treatment facility for a set period of time to fulfill court orders.

When drinking is occasional but problematic, one of the first places to call is a local Alcoholics Anonymous number. Some people fear that the spiritual aspects of this program are not in keeping with their own beliefs. People should be aware that each AA group operates independently. Some lean heavily on spirituality and others do not, and calling a central AA number can give people lots of information about which groups are more spiritually focused than others. For those who want to avoid attending AA meetings, the organization is still a clearinghouse of information on other drug and alcohol abuse treatments and programs that can help.

There are other excellent sources of information. These can include hospitals, family doctors, religious leaders, and counselors or therapists. Many will have resources that can point people to numerous treatment facilities. Some people find they really need the support of an inpatient alcohol abuse facility, where they will spend a certain amount of time with minimal contact with the outside world, so as to avoid prompts that would inspire drinking. Another place to look is through Internet search engines. People can type in alcohol abuse treatment programs and their city and country to find centers or programs that are nearby.

A good place to look in the US that may prove helpful is available on the US Health and Human Services Website. Their Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration pages (SAMHSA) allows people to search by city and distance from city to find available centers that can help people recover from alcohol abuse. Health insurance companies may also have information on treatment centers for alcohol problems if they cover alcohol abuse services. Many of these search sites are anonymous.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By Scrbblchick — On Mar 20, 2014

I beg to differ with the article. AA is for drinkers of any kind -- frequent, infrequent, binge, whatever. The only criteria for membership is a desire to *stop* drinking. Some people may certainly need to detox in a medical facility so they can do it safely, but they will need some kind of a follow-up program afterward, and many people choose AA because it is free, effective, anonymous and everywhere. Millions of people have been helped by this program, and by 12-Step programs in general.

People may pooh-pooh the 12-Step program, but really, the results speak for themselves.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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