Pointing the way to evidence–based care®

Different patients with alcohol use disorder (AUD) may need different treatment options. Fortunately, today there are more choices than you and your patients may expect.

Specialist physicians, therapists, and programs offer evidence–based AUD treatment at different levels of intensity in a variety of settings.  Telehealth and online options offer flexibility and privacy that may appeal to many patients.

Today, there are more treatment options than you might expect.

The Navigator can help you find... provide:
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full assessments

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custom treatment plans

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behavioral treatment backed by science

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non-addicting medications navigator check mark* navigator check mark navigator empty check mark navigator empty check mark

ongoing support in recovery

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* Not all treatment programs provide evidence-based medications for alcohol problems, but a quality program will offer them or partner with a prescriber. All board-certified addiction doctors provide medications, but not all offer in-depth behavioral treatments. A licensed therapist can be alcohol paired with an addiction doctor to create an outpatient "care team" to treat mild to moderate alcohol problems.

The NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator can help you connect patients with the full range of evidence–based, professional alcohol treatment providers. You can do this in two ways:

  • Build or expand your referral list. Use the Navigator to add quality specialists—therapists, physicians, and programs—that offer evidence–based care.   
  • Share the Navigator directly with patients. Help your patients and their loved ones understand today’s varied treatment options—and put some decision power in their hands.

See the sections below for tips on using the Navigator, sharing it with patients, and helping patients who drink too much.

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Search — Ask – Choose

Here’s how to add quality alcohol treatment providers to your referral list:

  • Step 1 – Search: Use trusted directories to find specialty physicians, therapists, and programs. Some results may require an easy follow up search online for contact info.
  • Step 2 – Ask: See the recommended questions to ask and learn how to listen for quality in the answers.  You’ll confirm credentials, services, availability, and more.
  • Step 3 – Choose: Capture what you learn from providers in a Choices Chart.  You can then see at a glance which ones have the most signs of quality, which will help you choose wisely.

Note:  The Navigator can help you locate quality alcohol treatment through telehealth services or online programs. Make sure to add these resources to your referral list if you think your patients would benefit from them.

You can use this Referral Sheet Template, below, to organize, print, and share your new list of referral resources.

Referral Sheet Template

Organize and print your new list of the referral resources you found.

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Tips for sharing with patients or family members who wish to search on their own.

Here are a few ways to inform patients about the Navigator. Before sharing, become familiar with the website and have in mind pages to highlight. And when you do share, offer to help them later, too, if they need help choosing an option. 

You can share the Navigator with patients…

  • In person. Share selected website pages using a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
  • By email or social media. See the Spread the Word page for ready-made content.    
  • In print. Print the flyers below and post on bulletin boards, mail, or use as handouts.
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Handout or flyer—8.5 x 11” (1 page)

These describe how the Navigator can help people to recognize and find quality alcohol treatment that meets their needs.


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Handouts—postcard size (4 per page)

These provide brief messages to encourage people to visit the Navigator.

For patients who drink heavily and do not yet need treatment—or will not yet accept a referral—consider recommending Rethinking Drinking, NIAAA’s prevention website. It offers tools and tips for making a change on their own.

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Resources for alcohol screening, assessment, treatment, and recovery.

To help you identify and support patients who drink too much, NIAAA created The Healthcare Professional’s Core Resource on Alcohol. Developed with input from 70 contributors including practicing healthcare professionals, this CME/CE activity offers current, evidence-based content, including:

Each article provides .75 to 1 free CME credits, or up to 10.75 credits total.

The Core Resource on Alcohol has received excellent feedback thus far from hundreds of CME/CE participants:

  • A large majority of healthcare professionals report that the Core content enhanced their current knowledge base and will be useful in their practice.
  • A third to half intend to change their practice; most indicated they would do so by applying the latest guidelines.

Here's what primary care providers are saying about the Navigator:

  • It takes the guesswork out of finding resources and makes the search process easier.
    — Physician assistant
  • It gives a framework for the approach to take with the next patient in need.
    — Internal medicine physician
  • It can put some of the power and decision making into the hands of the patient and family.
    — Nurse practitioner