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What Is an Alcohol Abuse Hotline?
An alcohol abuse hotline or helpline number is, typically, a phone service to help answer questions about alcohol addiction. Some hotlines are toll-free and operate 7 days a week, 24 hours per day. Depending on the agency that maintains the service, a hotline can provide assistance in a number of ways including general information on the signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorders and/or treatment resources.
If you or a loved one need information and support, a phone call to an alcohol addiction helpline is a good way to get in touch with a person who can help you find the resources you need to start recovery.
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 treatment centers that treat alcohol use disorders either locally or elsewhere in the country.
Are You Addicted To Alcohol?
Alcohol addiction is different for each person and can be difficult to identify. However, there are certain indicators common among people struggling with alcohol use. The following criteria are used by professionals to assess if a person has an alcohol use disorder (AUD) and may be helpful in deciding when to seek help:1
- Often drinking alcohol more or in larger amounts than intended.
- Craving alcohol.
- Persistently wanting to or unsuccessfully trying to decrease or control alcohol use.
- Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from alcohol.
- Using alcohol repeatedly in dangerous situations.
- Continuing using alcohol even though it is causing or worsening trouble with relationships or other social issues.
- Having problems fulfilling important responsibilities at school, work, or home due to regular drinking.
- Stopping or decreasing important activities because of alcohol use.
- Continuing drinking even when knowing that it is likely causing or worsening a physical or psychological problem.
- Experiencing tolerance.
- Going through withdrawal or drinking to avoid/relieve withdrawal.
If you or a loved one have experienced 2 or more of these signs within the last 12 months, it may be time to seek help by calling an alcohol hotline.
Signs of Dependency
Dependence is when an individual can only function normally if a drug is present and is not the same as addiction.2 Suddenly stopping alcohol use, or drastically cutting down use, can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Common alcohol withdrawal symptoms may include:3
- Mood swings.
- Trouble thinking clearly.
Alcohol withdrawal can be severe and even fatal, so anyone with alcohol withdrawal symptoms should contact a medical provider. If serious symptoms occur (such as fever, seizures, hallucinations, irregular heartbeat, or significant confusion), call 911.3
You do not have to be dependent on alcohol to experience the potentially devastating effects of alcohol use. If you think you or a loved one might have a problem with alcohol use and could possibly use the help of a rehab or other professional help, there are alcohol addiction numbers you can call to get help.
Should I Call an Alcohol Addiction Hotline?
People suffering from alcohol abuse, as well as their family and friends, might be aware of an issue with alcohol, but aren’t sure how to get help. While it can be scary to pick up the phone, calling an alcohol addiction hotline could be an important first step to starting the path to recovery.
What If I’m Afraid to Call?
Being afraid to call is completely normal. Alcohol hotlines are staffed by caring people who understand your struggles and won’t judge you. They are there to help you get the support you need with no financial risks or obligations when placing a call.
One can rest assured that addiction hotlines are staffed with compassionate individuals who are there to help—a friendly, judgment-free, helpful voice awaits those who call.
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 an average of 67,949 calls per month in 2017.4 It’s a staggering number that represents the many people in need of information about alcohol addiction and treatment.
You can also take the first step toward treatment by verifying your insurance coverage online, instantly and at no cost or commitment. Checking what your benefits cover with an American Addiction Centers facility will ensure that your payment requirements are considered from the beginning.
Alcohol Abuse and Addiction Hotline Numbers
The following national hotline numbers may offer additional helpful resources to those struggling with alcohol use, drug use, or other problems that may be connected to addiction.
In the event of an emergency, please call 911.
Are you ready to take the first step towards recovery?
American Addiction Centers (AAC) may be able to help. Call us now at 1-888-744-0069 to learn more about your alcohol addiction treatment options.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- 1 (800) 662-HELP (4357)
- SAMHSA’s National Helpline is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Their focus is those with substance use disorders and/or mental illness and their loved ones, and they can provide information and referrals. They also have an online Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.
- 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 Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255)
- Provides assistance beyond suicide help – including that for alcohol abuse
- Boys Town National Hotline
- 1 (800) 448-3000
- This crisis, resource, and referral line is staffed by people who can provide information about a variety of issues, including alcohol use, and help callers find needed resources. Their hotline is available 24/7.
- National Runaway Safeline
- 1 (800) RUNAWAY (786-2929)
- The Safeline provides help for young people who have run away, are homeless, or are otherwise at-risk. Their helpline is available 24/7.
Preparing to Make the Call
Ready to make a call but unsure what to ask? Questions may differ depending on if you are speaking to someone on a general hotline or to someone working for a specific treatment facility. When speaking to someone at a general hotline, consider questions such as:
- 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 generally happens during treatment may help you feel more comfortable about going.
As for speaking to someone associated with specific facilities, questions you might want to ask could include:
- Will my insurance pay for treatment? Have your insurance card ready so that you can give as much information as needed to determine your coverage.
- What types of treatment are available? This may include inpatient or outpatient services and other amenities.
- How long does treatment typically take? Length of treatment will depend on the level of care assessed by a professional. Be sure to ask what options the facility has for treatment length to ensure you’ll have access to the proper level of care.
- Will I have to go through detox? Ask if the facility includes detox, which is often an important first phase of recovery before entering other forms of treatment.
- Where are you located? Some people prefer to stay close to home while in treatment. Others may prefer to be in an environment separate from their daily life to focus on their recovery.
- How much does addiction treatment cost? Treatment cost varies depending on a number of factors including the facility, type of treatment, amenities, location, and other services. Be sure to ask if the facility offers any kind of financing, payment plants, or grants that may assist with covering the cost of treatment.
These lists are only a small sample of questions you might have. It may be helpful to take a couple minutes to assemble your own list of personal questions before you call.