As part of our mission as a medical information provider we can provide life saving help to our patrons. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, or NIAAA, has a Treatment Navigator which may be found here: https://alcoholtreatment.niaaa.nih.gov. The purpose of the Navigator is not to simply spit out a few names and addresses of therapists, but to be a nuanced guide to help a potential client make good treatment choices.
You may go to the NIAAA page directly for a link to the Navigator:
Once you get there you find this:
The crux of this page is to highlight principles to help guide you to make sound treatment choices that fit your particular situation. You will learn about what makes a good therapist, how to choose the right therapist, what treatment is like, and many other relevant questions. There is an FAQ to help prime the pump if you don’t even know what questions to ask.
Once you are ready to search specifically for a therapist to visit, go to the middle of the page to click on this highlighted link:
This takes you here, where you will click on the highlighted link to search for therapists:
Once you begin the actual search you will be redirected to the Psychology Today therapist search tool. This is a separate site for the online version of the well-known, longstanding popular magazine. This is a legitimate search tool for local therapists you may also access by simply going to the Psychology Today site—it’s always at the top of the page, anywhere on the site. The link from the NIAAA page sends you directly here:
Then once you enter a zip code you come up with results like this:
Once you find this page you choose when and how to contact prospective therapists, and using the information provided by the Treatment Navigator you can make your choice.
If you feel like more comprehensive treatment may be in order there is a link directly on the Navigator to search for treatment facilities; simply follow the link highlighted in green, rather than red.
The facility search is done within the NIAAA site rather than through a redirect, and here is an example of a search done locally here in Memphis:
Often treatment in a facility begins on an inpatient basis, similar to a hospital, in which you go to stay at the facility for a period of time, and then as progress is displayed treatment intensity steps down. Inpatient treatment of this nature can be expensive and impractical, so often a facility offers an outpatient option. One example of how this can work may involve spending part of a day at a facility for treatment, then departing for home or work, then augmenting treatment by attending a support group a few evenings a week. Treatment iterations are many, and a good facility likely offers multiple options suited to each patient.
An overriding component of the Navigator and the NIAAA site is the idea of evidence-based treatment, which is defined by the APA (American Psychological Association) as “…the integration of the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of patient characteristics, culture and preferences.” Evidence-based simply means that research has demonstrated the efficacy of a particular mode of treatment. Evidence-based treatment is favored by treatment centers, therapists, insurance companies and other important entities over older modalities that may remain popular, but fail over the long term to exhibit lasting efficacy or positive results. If you are researching a facility or therapist, or any other treatment option for that matter, and they cannot clearly explain their evidence-based approach or demonstrate how they execute an evidence-based approach then they are not a good choice.
Deciding to seek treatment is difficult, and once one has made that decision it can be helpful and relieving to have a tool such as this Navigator to assist decision making. The NIAAA Treatment Navigator may be a very helpful tool for those who need this valuable information from us.