Q: Do you recommend any programs or counseling centers for alcoholics?

A: If alcoholics are willing to seek help, they should receive assessments by addiction specialists or physicians about what level of care they may need. Research indicates that alcoholics benefit from mutual-help groups in addition to individual and group therapy and medication treatments (for those with underlying mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression). There are several mutual-help groups available—including Alcoholics Anonymous —that have support group meetings online and in person throughout the country and internationally. For HFAs in particular, it can be helpful to "shop around" for a meeting in which they feel comfortable and to try not to compare themselves to the lower-functioning alcoholic stories.

For specialized addiction treatment options, alcoholics or their loved ones can contact their physicians, current therapists or psychiatrists, health insurance companies, local health departments or employee assistance programs. However, if they are unable to obtain specialists through those means, they can contact the American Psychological Association (APA) at 800-964-2000, ask for their state's APA phone number and request to find psychologists with addiction specialties. When contacting an insurance company, members should call the "mental health/substance abuse" phone number on their insurance cards, ask for benefit information and then request a list of therapists/psychiatrists who specialize in substance abuse in their local areas.

Some alcoholics may need to go to detox facilities if they are physically dependent on alcohol, and others may need to attend rehab facilities for weeks or months, then attend mutual-help group meetings and outpatient therapy upon discharge. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a national treatment facility locater that can help in finding a local detox or rehab facility. In addition, they can visit the Resources page on for more information or to inquire about specialized care in their areas.
FROM: The Diane Schuler Story: Was She Driving Drunk?
Published on October 27, 2009


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