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NIH's new online tool may help fight alcohol addiction

"In any given year, less than 10 percent of individuals diagnosed with alcohol use disorder receive treatment," said NIAAA Director George F. Koob.

By Amy Wallace
A new tool created by the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has been designed to help people identify alcohol use disorder and find treatment, even in themselves. Photo by <a class="tpstyle" href="https://pixabay.com/en/alcohol-hangover-event-death-drunk-428392/">jarmoluk/Pixabay</a>
A new tool created by the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has been designed to help people identify alcohol use disorder and find treatment, even in themselves. Photo by jarmoluk/Pixabay

Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has designed a new online tool to help people identify and find treatment for alcohol use disorder.

The NIAAA's Alcohol Treatment Navigator is a comprehensive, easy-to-use tool to help individuals and family members navigate the complicated process of choosing treatment for alcohol problems.

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Alcohol use disorder affects more than 15 million adults in the United States.

"We developed this tool to help address the alcohol 'treatment gap,'" NIAAA Director George F. Koob, said in a press release.

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"In any given year, less than 10 percent of individuals diagnosed with alcohol use disorder receive treatment, and many of them do not receive the type of care that best fits their needs. A big reason for that, we believe, is that people with alcohol use disorder often don't know where to turn for help."

The Alcohol Treatment Navigator provides an overview of alcohol use disorder, a description of treatment options, and step-by-step instructions for searching online directories of treatment providers including information from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Behavioral Health Treatment Locator.

The navigator also provides users with 10 questions to ask a doctor or healthcare provider and five signs of quality in a provider to listen for, along with a downloadable Toolkit to help organize and simplify the process.

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"Good alcohol treatment can be very hard to find," said Lori Ducharme, NIAAA's program director for Health Services Research and lead developer of the navigator. "Knowing where to look for treatment is difficult, mainly because treatment takes many forms which often are not well integrated into general health care. That makes it hard for people to find the kind of care that they need, when they need it. The navigator is designed to take the mystery and frustration out of that search by guiding them through a step-by-step process to find a qualified treatment provider."

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