Spotlight

Alcohol Treatment and Physical Distancing

A close up of the coronavirus.

If you need alcohol treatment while practicing physical distancing, there are several professionally led treatment and mutual-support group options available to you:

Professionally Led Treatment

Many healthcare professionals and programs have offered telehealth alcohol treatment for years. These are phone or video sessions for talk therapy or medical care. Now, with the COVID-19 emergency, more providers are offering telehealth services. Medicare and other insurers are expanding coverage of telehealth services as well. Check with your insurance company about coverage.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s (NIAAA) Alcohol Treatment Navigator can help you find telehealth alcohol treatment by healthcare professionals:

  • Find treatment programs here and filter for “telemedicine/telehealth.” Note: More programs are likely adding telehealth services during the COVID-19 emergency. If needed, search without the filter and call to check availability of telehealth services.
  • Find therapists with addiction specialties here and filter for “video counseling.” Note: More therapists are adding telehealth services during the COVID-19 emergency. If needed, search without the filter and call to check availability of telehealth services.
  • Find doctors with addiction specialties here and ask office staff whether they offer telehealth services. 

Also, please note that an effective computer-based program can provide powerful support as well. CBT4CBT is a set of web-based cognitive-behavioral therapy modules developed with NIAAA funding. It trains people in seven important skills to help them cut down or quit drinking. Any doctor or licensed therapist can prescribe it for you and monitor your progress.

Mutual-Support Groups

Mutual-support groups can be particularly helpful during this challenging time. A growing number of groups have online communities. These groups can vary widely, so it’s important to try different ones to find a good fit.

The Navigator can help you find some mutual-support groups to consider.

In addition to support groups, people in recovery should also maintain a connection with their treatment counselor. While mutual help groups are an excellent source of support and encouragement, they are usually not run by professional clinicians. Some issues may require the help of a trained health professional.

Other Resources

If you’d like to get started with something right away, see this list of online support groups, apps, and podcasts from the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Overall, regardless of where or how you seek treatment, it’s important to look for approaches that are “evidence-based.” This means the treatments are backed by large, well-designed studies. The Navigator will help you spot signs of higher-quality care.