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Alcohol Abuse Hotlines

  1. Table of ContentsPrint
  2. Are You Addicted to Alcohol?
  3. What Is An Alcohol Abuse Hotline?
  4. Should I Call an Alcohol Hotline?
  5. What If I'm Afraid to Call?
  6. Additional Alcohol Abuse Hotline Resources
  7. Preparing to Make the Call

Female telephone operator

One can rest assured that hotlines are staffed with compassionate individuals who are there to help--a friendly, judgment-free, helpful voice awaits those who call.

Whether you are in the midst of an alcohol related crisis, or if you are acting on behalf of a loved one struggling with alcohol abuse, a phone call to a helpline is a good way to place yourself in touch with someone experienced with alcohol abuse and dependency issues. There are many questions concerning drug and alcohol related issues that can start to be addressed with a hotline call. Furthermore, hotline staff will be able to connect those in need with a number of alcohol rehabilitation and recovery centers either locally, or anywhere in the country.

Are You Addicted to Alcohol?

Many people experiencing the ill effects of their drinking behavior frequently wonder if they have a problem that needs professional attention. Hotline staff frequently can help answer questions like these--for this reason alone, it might be a good idea to make the call. If you are asking yourself similar questions, chances are, at the very least, you are experiencing some difficulties related to alcohol abuse. For both those questioning the seriousness of an alcohol problem and those who have accepted that a problem exists, but are unsure of how to proceed in seeking treatment, a call to a hotline can provide some answers. Hotline information can help one make an informed decision about an existing alcohol addiction or dependency and about seeking further help, such as inpatient alcohol rehab.

Signs of a Problem

Some of the criteria for alcohol dependency include:"

  • Tolerance to the effects of alcohol.
  • Experiencing alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
  • Use of alcohol above and beyond what was intended.
  • A desire / inability to cut down on drinking behavior.
  • Loss of interest or participation in previous activities.
  • Continued use despite being aware of the problems it is causing.

One does not have to meet all criteria to be experiencing the devastating effects of alcohol abuse. If you think you or a loved one might be in the grips of alcohol dependency, and could use the help of a rehab or recovery center, you have places you can call to get help.

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What Is An Alcohol Abuse Hotline?

An alcohol abuse hotline is, typically, a phone service operated 7 days a week, 24 hours per day. Depending on the agency that maintains the service, a hotline can provide assistance on a number of levels. Some might offer general information on the signs and symptoms of alcohol or drug abuse, while others provide more emergent interventional services to place the caller in touch with available treatment resources.

Family and loved ones, additionally, might use a hotline to research intervention strategies for someone close to them. One can rest assured that hotlines are staffed with compassionate individuals who are there to help--a friendly, judgment free, helpful voice awaits those who call.

Should I Call an Alcohol Hotline?

As mentioned before, individuals suffering from alcohol abuse, as well as their family and friends, frequently might be aware of the issue on some level, but unclear if it has progressed to a point that requires outside help. Time isn't going to help answer this question. Calling a hotline could be an all-important first step to yield the answers to many of these questions, and to put someone on the path to recovery.

What If I'm Afraid to Call?

Obtaining help while in the midst of the chaos that alcohol abuse and/or dependency can give rise to can seem like quite a daunting prospect. Often, a call to a hotline is a courageous first step taken in seeking help for alcohol abuse. There really is nothing to fear in picking up the phone. There are no financial risks or obligations in placing a call.

The specialists answering the call are there to help you. Some might take comfort in knowing that they aren't the only ones placing hotline calls--the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which operates its own helpline, reported nearly 28,000 calls per month in 2013. It's a staggering number, and attests to the huge numbers of people in need of more information and, ultimately, treatment assistance.

Additional Alcohol Abuse Hotline Resources

Here are some national hotline numbers, provided as additional resources for those struggling with alcohol abuse or alcohol related problems.

In the event of a severe alcohol related crisis, please call 911 emergency services.

  • Boys Town National Hotline
  • 1 (800) 448-3000
  • Crisis, resource and referral line staffed by counselors to provide information about a variety of issues, including alcohol abuse.
  • Covenant House Teen Hotline (NineLine)
  • 1 (800) 999-9999
  • General hotline for adolescents, teens and their families. Assistance is offered for alcohol related or any other kind of problem. Additionally, Covenant House pays particular attention to runaway and homeless kids.
  • National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD)
  • 1 (800) NCA-CALL (622-2255)
  • NCADD's HOPE LINE places those struggling with alcohol and other substance abuse issues in touch with helpful local resources.
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  • 1 (800) 662-HELP (4357)
  • National agency dedicated to prevention of drug and alcohol abuse. Their helpline provides 24 hour assistance..
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
  • 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255)
  • Provides assistance beyond suicide help - including that for alcohol abuse

Governmental sites on the web also provide a wealth of information and resources, often at a state or local level, to those seeking assistance with alcohol abuse related issues. A good way to begin the search for this type of help is to enter a search for your particular state, as well as ".gov" using your web browser. This should provide many results to choose from, with numerous examples of phone numbers to reach out to for help.

Preparing to Make the Call

Ready to make a call but unsure what to ask? Consider questions such as:

  • Will my insurance pay for treatment? Have your card ready so that you can give as much information as needed to determine your coverage.
  • How can I find a reputable treatment center? Staff at the hotline you call should be able to talk you through the process of getting yourself into a good program.
  • What resources are in my area? The hotline staff may be able to direct you to both public and private programs near you.
  • What does treatment usually entail? Many people seeking help for the first time don't know what to expect. Make sure to ask the hotline staff any questions you have, as knowing more about what happens during treatment may help you feel more comfortable about going.

This list is only a small sample of questions you might have. Take a couple minutes to assemble your own list of personal questions.


  • Office of the Surgeon General (US); National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (US); Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US). The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking. Rockville (MD): Office of the Surgeon General (US); 2007. Appendix B: DSM-IV-TR Diagnostic Criteria for Alcohol Abuse and Dependence. Retrieved from:
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. SAMHSA’s National Helpline: Frequently Asked Questions. September 2014. Retrieved from:
Last updated on November 24, 2018
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