When to Call a 24-Hour Alcohol Addiction Helpline?
Alcohol is easily available everywhere we go. For many Americans, drinking is an integral part of life, and popular culture makes it not only socially acceptable but even desirable. One of the most desirable effects of alcohol is that it makes us feel relaxed and free of inhibitions.1
But excessive or frequent alcohol abuse can and often does interfere with people’s day-to-day lives. Ironically, this makes recognizing a drinking problem and getting help for it so much more difficult.1
Alcoholism is the number one substance of abuse nationwide. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH):2
- 85.6% of people ages 18 and older reported alcohol consumption at some point in their lifetime.
- 25.8% of people ages 18 and older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month, and 6.3 percent reported that they engaged in heavy alcohol use in the past month.
- 14.5 million people ages 12 and older had alcohol use disorder (AUD).
It’s also a contributing factor in the prevalence of chronic disease that the United States has seen in recent decades. On top of that, combining alcohol with prescription medications and illicit substances can lead to a near-fatal or fatal overdose.2
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However, 24-hour alcohol abuse helplines, which were initially developed to help those contemplating suicide, can serve as an invaluable resource for those struggling with mental health issues and substance use disorders.3
Helplines are easily available for assistance and support many treatment-seeking individuals and their loved ones need to start recovery.4
What Is the Purpose of an Alcoholism Helpline?
An alcohol addiction helpline provides callers with alcohol abuse information, guidance, advice, recommendations, support, as well as access to community resources and treatment options, including inpatient and outpatient alcohol rehab programs.5
Free and confidential 24-hour alcohol hotlines can be instrumental in helping counteract the damaging effects of alcoholism. If a person is hesitant about entering treatment, they may change their mind after discussing the various issues they face and the withdrawal symptoms they experience on a daily basis with an understanding professional on the other side of the line who can guide them through their options.1
Helpline representatives are compassionate and patient individuals whose job is to help encourage a person battling alcoholism to enter treatment and start recovery through detoxification and rehabilitation.1
The fact that the helpline, much like other similar resources, is absolutely free and the conversation is absolutely confidential makes alcohol addiction rehab helplines easily accessible and increases the odds that a person may enter and stay in recovery.3
What Questions Do Callers Ask an Alcoholism Helpline?
For individuals sinking into alcoholism and their loved ones, identifying the early signs of alcoholism can be a challenge. Many become aware of the problem only after it has already caused significant damage to the person’s health, life, and relationships with friends and family.1
Alcoholism has a different effect on different people, and many individuals go a long time being unaware they have developed a drinking problem. Additionally, even people in the person’s immediate social circle may be unaware that the only way to help their loved one escape the vicious cycle of alcoholism is to seek treatment.1
On top of that, the longer a person engages in alcohol abuse, the more difficult it can be to undo the damage the substance has caused. Some of the questions most commonly asked by helpline callers include:1
- How can I tell if someone has an alcohol use disorder?
- What effects can drinking too much have on a person’s health?
- Is there a way to prevent alcohol poisoning?
- When does social drinking turn into a drinking problem?
- How to recognize a functioning alcoholic?
Alcohol helpline representatives may also ask common alcohol abuse questions to accurately assess a person’s situation and suggest suitable programs.5
Reasons to Call an Alcohol Addiction Helpline Number
Calling an alcohol addiction hotline number is a pain-free first step to getting help. To be able to provide help to the caller, helpline representatives need to develop a better understanding of the situation the person is in. The conversation is absolutely confidential. Depending on the person’s circumstances, the representative can recommend the available treatment options.6
Alcohol is the number one substance of abuse nationwide because it’s easy to obtain legally and many people develop an alcohol use disorder that goes undiagnosed for a long time. Alcohol abuse is so prevalent that more and more people are seeking help for alcohol use in the U.S. each year, and alcohol-related deaths have reached alarming heights.2
However, in case of a critical, life-threatening emergency, it’s of vital importance to dial 911. For non-life-threatening situations, various 24-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week alcohol abuse hotlines and other online resources are available nationwide.3
Are Calls to an Alcohol Addiction Helpline Confidential?
Calling an alcohol hotline is typically free of charge, and the conversation is absolutely private and confidential. However, it does not hurt to verify confidentiality with the helpline representative after making the call.6
For a helpline representative to be able to find and recommend a course of treatment that meets a person’s unique situation, they need to have sufficient information at their disposal.7
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is often the best way to address AUD or other forms of substance use disorder but each person is unique.8
For instance, a person simultaneously struggling with addiction to alcohol and another substance may require longer treatment duration and a higher level of treatment intensity. A person with a mental health disorder co-occurring with alcoholism may require co-occurring disorder treatment for both conditions to be placed under control.9
What Do I Say When I Call an Alcohol Addiction Hotline?
Calling an alcohol hotline can be difficult. If you are still unsure if calling a hotline is the right thing to do, here are some questions to ask yourself that may help you decide.1
- Will my insurance pay for treatment?
- What types of treatment are available?
- How long does treatment typically take?
- Will I have to go through detox?
Toll-Free Alcohol Addiction Hotlines and Resources
There is a range of free alcohol helpline numbers and resources that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.3 These hotlines provide information, resources, and support to those struggling with alcohol abuse:
- SAMHSA: 1-800-662-43575
- Alcohol and Drug Help Line: 1-206-722-370010
- National Suicide Prevention: 1-800-273-825511
- Al-Anon and AlaTeen: 888-425-2666 and 888-4AL-ANON12
- National Alliance on Mental Illness: 800-950-NAMI13
How Do I Choose the Right Alcohol Rehab Center?
When picking an alcohol or drug rehab center for oneself or a loved one, the cost of the program is often a decisive factor. However, there are affordable and free programs nationwide.14
Other factors that may be important include:7
- The location of the rehab center, whether inpatient or outpatient.
- Diversity of treatment options.
- The experience and credentials of the staff.
How Do I Find a Local Alcohol Rehab Center?
The American Addiction Centers’ hotline is designed to help treatment-seeking individuals learn more about available treatment options for alcoholism and discover whether their insurance covers treatment at AAC. AAC has locations nationwide, and it has helped many maneuver their way through treatment and recovery.
Find the Help & Resources You Need. Call a Confidential Alcohol Hotline Available 24/7!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Possible to Call an Alcohol Helpline on Behalf of Someone Else?
Many times, it is friends and family who manage to persuade loved ones to start treatment for alcoholism. Calling an alcohol addiction hotline for a loved one can be a life-changing decision that can help them escape the vicious cycle of addiction dragging them down and turn to a healthy and productive lifestyle.1
Recognizing triggers and avoiding relapse are among the skills recovering individuals can acquire through personalized treatment of alcoholism. However, recovering individuals who have the support of friends and family are more likely to stay in recovery.9
Additionally, treatment can be effective even if it is not voluntary, and the sooner it begins, the more likely it is to lead to beneficial long-term outcomes.9
What’s the First Step to Getting Help for Alcohol Addiction?
Getting help for alcohol abuse can be a difficult step to make, but calling an alcohol-oriented hotline can make it easier to take the first steps to recovery. Help with alcohol abuse is available in various institutions and programs nationwide, some of which are affordable or even entirely free.3
Will My Insurance Policy Cover Treatment at an Alcohol Rehab Facility?
Insurance may cover your alcohol rehab provided that this type of treatment falls under the category of medical necessities.15 For more information, you should call your insurance company or preferred treatment provider. They can help check your benefits and determine the scope of your coverage.
How Can Calling an Alcohol Addiction Hotline Help Me?
One of the key benefits of calling an alcohol abuse hotline is that it is a place to ask questions directly and get personalized responses without the risk of invasion of privacy.9
What Are the Signs That a Person’s Dealing With Alcohol Addiction?
It’s not uncommon for someone to keep drinking despite the damage excessive and frequent abuse of alcohol is causing them and their loved ones. It’s especially dangerous for expecting mothers to consume alcohol, as the damage this can cause the unborn baby could be beyond repair.9
Typical signs that a person may be diagnosed with alcoholism may include:1
- Excessive or prolonged abuse of alcohol, even in situations where this can cause great harm such as driving.
- Intense cravings and a strong urge to use alcohol.
- Being tolerant to alcohol and having to increase alcohol intake and frequency of consumption to achieve the desired effect.
- Developing unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal when not using alcohol.
- Losing interest in any activities that do not involve alcohol use.
- Inability to fulfill regular personal, professional, or academic obligations because of alcohol abuse.
- Continuing to abuse alcohol in spite of the issues it causes, including its detrimental effect on the person’s interpersonal relationships and social life.
- Inability to reduce or stop alcohol abuse despite multiple attempts to do so.
- Investing time and effort into procuring, using and recovering from alcohol abuse.
What Will Happen Once I Call an Alcohol Abuse Helpline?
An alcohol abuse hotline representative will ask relevant questions to understand the situation a person is in. Questions will likely be centered around the person’s alcohol abuse pattern and history.1
Do Alcohol Addiction Helplines Cost Anything?
Alcohol abuse hotlines are usually free and accessible 24/7. In many cases, private and confidential assistance is available day and night.3
How Can I Start My Recovery From Alcohol Addiction?
It can be exceedingly difficult to overcome alcohol addiction without professional guidance and support, especially when both alcohol and opioids are involved. Recovering individuals often require a strong support system to be able to keep the condition under control.9
Where Can I Find Alcohol Addiction Help?
Consulting a primary care physician who can provide treatment referrals and medications is often the first step for anyone contemplating treatment. However, the very first step to getting help with alcohol addiction can be as simple as calling a helpline, and there are also various online resources to explore.1
Another way to start looking for help is to turn to a specific rehab center for information about treatment options and payment options. Some facilities even offer rehabilitation for couples who wish to stop drinking.
What Should I Share With an Alcohol Hotline Operator?
Aside from personal contact details, alcohol hotlines also need the person’s background information, including details about the history, duration and pattern of alcoholism. It is also worth noting that private medical information is protected by law.6
What Will Happen After Calling an Alcohol Abuse Helpline?
Alcohol addiction hotlines are there to help those struggling with alcoholism to find help during times of crisis.1
Alcoholism can affect the whole family and leave lasting damage. The most reliable way to start addressing the issue is to seek professional help. The first step is a safe, medically supervised withdrawal and detoxification, which may be facilitated with the use of medications: acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone.8
These medications are used within medication-assisted treatment (MAT), an evidence-based treatment option that is safe and effective at addressing alcoholism and alcohol misuse. MAT medications relieve the extremely unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal and the psychological cravings that lead to chemical imbalances in the body. For people battling alcoholism, detox can last up to 10 days, but MAT often lasts considerably longer.8
Alcoholism cannot be cured, but it’s possible to achieve and maintain abstinence. Like any other chronic condition, it’s manageable.9 Friends and family of individuals battling alcoholism may be relieved to discover there are 24-hour alcohol hotlines that are free, confidential, and readily available to offer resources and solutions.3
Make the First Step by Calling a 24-Hour Alcoholism Helpline.
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- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2021). Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2022). Alcohol Facts and Statistics.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Resources.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2021). Where can family members go for information on treatment options?
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). SAMHSA’s National Helpline.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Cost and Privacy Issues.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2012). TIP 34: Brief Interventions and Brief Therapies for Substance Abuse.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2022). Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide, Third Edition.
- Alcohol and Drug Help Line. (2013). Alcohol and Drug Help Line.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. (2020). National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
- Al-Anon and AlaTeen. (2021). Al-Anon and AlaTeen.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2021). National Alliance on Mental Illness Home Page.
- FindGovernment.gov. (2019). Paying for Treatment.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2022). Do you have health insurance?