What Should I Know Before Calling a Helpline

When seeking help for a drug or alcohol problem most people now go to the internet. They may type into the search engine, help for addiction, or help, I’m an addict or alcoholic. They then will see multiple listings. Many are directories that contain the names of thousands of rehabs around the country. Often you will see a main number on the directory that appears to be a “helpline”. It may even say it’s a hotline or helpline for people who are struggling. You may think if you call that you will be talking with a trained counselor or addiction professional, but sadly those numbers usually will get you to a call center whose sole purpose is to direct your call to the rehab that is paying the most for your call. Then when you’re transferred to the rehab, their primary goal is to get your insurance information and get you admitted to their treatment center. That may be ok if that’s what you want, but if you’re seeking someone to talk with who can provide you some guidance, then it’s best to contact a treatment provider directly and ask to talk with a counselor or addiction professional. Let them know that right now you just want some guidance and are gathering information. If you don’t want to be called back, tell them, as some rehabs will call you repeatedly for several days to try and get you to enroll in their treatment. There is reputable help out there, but you have to be diligent in your search. If you feel pressured or harassed, or if they use fear tactics to rush a decision, then it’s best to steer clear of those programs. Seek someone who will listen to you and answer your questions directly, and provide you with hope for a better future.

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