Tool for people with alcoholism

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COLUMBIA – People struggling with alcoholism can find help more easily with a new online navigator tool released by the National Institutes of Health.

Many people think their options are limited when looking for treatment, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse. The online tool offers a directory of providers for alcohol treatment across the United States.

The navigator is designed to increase a person’s chances at success by providing them with more choices. Therapist Candice Kundert said the tool is helpful for people suffering with alcoholism. 

“Not everyone has access or the ability to go to a treatment center. Often they are constricted by money issues or insurance, so at least they can maybe get into therapy or counseling," Kundert said. 

People with alcoholism can attend group or individual counseling sessions, getting medication from a doctor or psychiatrist to help lessen alcohol cravings and family therapy options to support recovery.

Guides are available for the person, their family and friends to explain treatment options. Kundert said family members are important to offer as much love and support as they can. 

She said helping a person overcome alcoholism takes understanding.

"It is a disease. The choice mechanism in the brain gets very messed up during alcoholism or drug abuse," Kundert said. "People are unable to make decisions that are good for themselves until they are able to get over it."

The navigator has sources listed for more specific cases like adolescent treatment and even information to help clinicians treat their patients.

The navigator gives contact information for support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, LifeRing and SMART Recovery.

It also gives a list of recommended questions for people to ask a potential treatment providers to make sure they are a good match.