What is an Addiction Helpline?

An addiction helpline is supportive, free of charge hotline number anyone can call. Most drug and alcohol addiction helplines are available to call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Caring professionals answer the phone calls who are willing to answer any questions you or a loved one may have about addiction, recovery, and a wide range of related topics. Calls are anonymous, don’t cost anything, and can provide an endless amount of helpful tools for finding the best information or path to sobriety.

There are many different kinds of addiction helplines out there. Some are focused more on placing individuals in treatment centers specifically tailored to their needs. Other hotlines are drug-specific, specializing in offering help or advice for a particular drug. For example, a helpline for opiates will be better suited for answering questions, helping an opiate abuser identify whether or not they have a problem, and finding local detox centers.

More specifically, some helplines take calls on a national level, for anyone in need of a conversation with an informed professional. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has such a national helpline. Other helplines are more local and small-scale, which are a good option if you’d like to quickly get the specific help you or a loved one need in your area.

Who Needs an Addiction Helpline?

Anyone can be in need of an addiction helpline. Whether or not you are an addict or alcoholic struggling with substance abuse, you are welcome to call a hotline for a variety of reasons. It may be that your friend, child, or sibling is suffering from drug abuse so you’d like to talk to someone about it. The people answering the calls are often well-informed to compassionately discuss any concerns. Helplines get all kinds of questions from people of all backgrounds and situations every single day. It’s highly unlikely that your question is unanswerable or that your problem is “too much” for a professional to help.

From the highest-functioning alcoholic to the lowest, most desperate drug addict, an addiction helpline can offer guidance to all. If you are wrestling with a possible addiction, you can call. People who answer the phones of these hotlines are supportive, caring, and nonjudgemental. They can connect you to a professional therapist, locate the nearest rehab center near you, or assist you in finding a twelve-step support program.

Helplines can indeed quickly find detox centers when needed as well. One caller shared their review of an addiction helpline they called which helped them in a dire situation:

Addiction hotline saved my life. In less than 20 minutes they where able to get me approved and the next day i was in detox.

This is an excellent example of what an addiction helpline can offer. Detox can be especially crucial to find support for, as many drugs cause harm while the user goes through withdrawal. A hotline that knows the resources to find and place someone in need of immediate treatment can save a life!

How Does an Addiction Helpline Work?

Now that we know what addiction hotline is, it may be helpful to understand how they work.

When you or anyone else calls an addiction hotline, a trained person, volunteer, or employee answers the phone. Usually, they will ask what state or city you live in. They’ll ask you other questions about your situation. They might ask your background with drugs or alcohol: Do you have any history with drugs? Have you been to rehab before? Do you or your loved one have a history of any mental disorder?

Next, the addiction helpline will likely ask you why you are calling. If you are curious about understanding more of an addiction your loved one has, he or she will remain open in the direction you want the conversation to go. If you call to seek medical attention or addiction treatment, the helpline specialist probably goes over the medical insurance coverage available to you. This inquiry helps them find you the best, most affordable, and suitable treatment centers for you. Once they locate a qualified rehab, detox, or treatment location for you, the next step is finding out how to get you there and checked in to begin the process. If you’re unable to get transportation, they can likely assist you with getting to the location, as well.

The process might take five minutes to an hour, depending on the unique complications of your circumstances. Be sure to stay as honest and detailed as possible so they person connecting you to a helpful resource can deliver the best service. All calls are confidential, so you don’t need to worry about them sharing your personal information with anyone except to the professionals who are ready to help you get sober.

When is the Best Time to Contact an Addiction Helpline?

Remember, most helplines are available to call 24/7. You are free to call whenever you need or want. The best time to call a hotline is dependent on you. They are there to help, so any time you need help is the best time to call. You can even call multiple times a day if you prefer.

What is an Addiction Helpline Call Usually Like?

Here’s an example of how a regular call might go on a daily basis.

The call is from a man who is worried that his wife might be hiding an addiction to alcohol. He feels confused and alone. Therefore, he resorts to calling an addiction helpline for advice.

Addiction Helpline: Hello, this is the addiction helpline. If this is an emergency, please hang up and call 9-1-1. If this is not an emergency, please stay on the line. Thank you for calling. My name is Mary. How may I help you?
Caller: Hi, I’m looking to talk with someone about my wife… I think she might be an alcoholic. I love her and want to help her, but I don’t know what to do.
Addiction HelplineOk, you’ve called the right place. I’m here to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you might have. Do you want to tell me about your wife, and why you’re concerned?
Caller: Yes. We’ve been married for six years. She has always had some emotional issues from the past, but she doesn’t like talking about it whenever I show my worry for her. Lately, she’s been drinking more to the point of blacking out– maybe two or three times a week. I found empty liquor bottles in the trunk of her car a few days ago. When she gets drunk, she seems to lose herself and stops being present with our kids and me. I’ve tried talking to her about her excessive alcohol consumption, but she gets defensive and angry at me. I don’t like the kids seeing her like this… and it especially upsets my son. She’s been neglecting herself, skipping work, forgetting to pay bills. I feel like I’m all alone in this. Do you think she’s an alcoholic?
Addiction HelplineI see. I understand how that is challenging for you and your family. It sounds like she might be hiding an alcohol dependency, based on what you’ve shared. Has she been more stressed than usual since the drinking began?
Caller: Yes. Her brother was diagnosed with cancer several months ago. They aren’t very close, but it seems to be affecting her quite a lot. Again, she refuses to talk about it. She avoids the topic of her family as much as she can. She used to prioritize making sure our family stayed happy and healthy. But now it seems like she only cares about herself. It’s heartbreaking to see her like this. I miss my wife. I feel so frustrated and worried.
Addiction HelplineAw. I’m sorry to hear that, sir. If you want, I can find a support group called Al-Anon near you. It might be the right place for you to get the guidance you need. Families and friends of alcoholics meet there weekly to share their feelings and daily struggles. Everyone in Al-Anon has a close loved one who is an alcoholic.
Caller: Alright. That might help me stay sane. But what should I do about my wife?
Addiction HelplineWell, there are several options. It all depends on what she is open to. We can offer to find her a family therapist to start. Maybe that will help address the underlying emotional issues she’s been avoiding. If necessary, we can set up an intervention for her, her friends, and your family. That could potentially call to her attention how much you’re all concerned about her drinking and encourage her to seek help. A detox is an option as well, but it doesn’t sound like she’s quite ready for that.
Caller: Ok. I’ve thought about finding a family therapist as a start. I don’t know where I could find one though. Our insurance is alright, but not the best. I don’t even know if we would qualify for a good counselor.
Addiction HelplineWho’s your insurance provider?
Caller: Kaiser.
Addiction HelplineMany great therapists take that insurance. Let me get some more information from you, and I can help connect you to someone nearby. I’ll specify that you’re looking to set an appointment with a professional who specializes in family and alcohol abuse therapy.
Caller: Ok. That would be great. And in the meantime, I’d like to know where that Al-Anon meeting is, too. I want all the help I can get to stay healthy for my kids at this time. I don’t think I can keep all my fears or emotions to myself anymore. Support would be helpful.
Addiction HelplineGreat decision. It’s important to stay connected with others who can relate, so you don’t burn out emotionally! I’ll get you set up with the leader of your nearest weekly meetup.
Caller: Thank you so much, Mary. I hope this helps. I want my wife to be healthy and happy again.
Addiction HelplineSo do I, sir. You did the right thing calling us today. I’m happy to help. If you have any more questions at all, I’m here to help you. As long as you need, I’ll stay on the line.

What Questions Should I Ask an Addiction Helpline?

As stated above, there are endless types of questions you can ask. No problem is too big or too scary. Some examples of the kinds of questions you can request an addiction hotline are as follows:

  • How do I know if I’m addicted to opiates?
  • Is my loved one secretly dependent on illicit drugs?
  • How can I help my son or daughter with peer pressure about drugs?
  • I want to quit drinking but I can’t. Where can I go to get help?
  • My family thinks I have a problem with cocaine. How can I tell if they’re right?
  • I need to find a detox center ASAP. Where can I check in immediately?
  • I need to get sober. Can I begin treatment now?
  • I forgot what it’s like to not be dependent on drugs or alcohol. How can I find help?
  • My father-in-law is abusing heroin. I don’t want him to go to jail. What advice can I get?
  • I don’t have medical insurance. Where can I find a rehab center to get clean?
  • Who do I talk to about my concerns about my loved one who’s an addict?
  • I think my friend is on drugs, but I’m not sure. How can I tell?
  • I feel depressed and don’t know who to talk to. Where can I go to get support?
  • How can I set up an intervention for my loved one?

There are just several examples. As said before, no question is too complicated for these addiction helplines to answer. Their job is to assist you with whatever you feel you need to get help now.

Prevail Intervention: Addiction Helpline

Prevail Intervention has an addiction helpline not only for drug and alcohol abuse. You can also call if you or a loved one is being affected by depression. We have resources for any state in the United States. When you call our helpline, we have options for you regarding:

Call us at Prevail Intervention today. We’re ready to help you with any questions. Our addiction helpline is 24/7 confidential. We have helped thousands of people get free from drugs and alcohol for good. You can, too.