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Deciding to seek treatment for alcohol and other drugs is a big step, and it can feel overwhelming for someone who already has a lot happening in their life. We take you through the process and describe some of the different treatment options available to help you plan what to do. If it’s your loved one who is considering treatment, you might like to share this page with them to start thinking about what type of treatment will meet their needs.
You should seek help if your alcohol or drug use is affecting your:
There are support services to help you, and to help your family and friends if they need them.
If you’re using alcohol or drugs and aren’t ready to stop, you should still get regular check-ups with your GP and get some harm minimisation advice to help you use as safely as possible. Treatment services have this information, as well as organisations like Harm Reduction Victoria.
Your treatment should be developed with your input, and be tailored to your specific needs and goals. Different treatments can work for different people at different times in their life, so the type of treatment you’re using might change over time. But you should always be involved in making the decision about what’s going to work for you.
Once you’re put in touch with a service, there will be an assessment either over the phone or face-to-face. Once that’s done you can discuss the different treatment options.
There’s often a waiting list for services, but if the treatment you’re after isn’t available at your centre they’ll refer you to another one that provides it.
There are also services specifically geared towards helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, women, men, the LGBTQI community, parents with young children, young people, or people with particular mental health issues.
There are many types of treatments you can access as a public or as a private patient.
In line with Australia’s National Drug Strategy, many treatment services follow the harm minimisation approach. This means that they work to reduce the harms caused by alcohol and drugs. This doesn’t always require you to stop using, because that’s not always possible.
Different types of help can also be combined with each other to suit your needs. Options include:
There can be a small cost for certain public services, but many treatment options (like counselling and withdrawal) are usually free.
Before you start your treatment, contact Medicare and/or your private health insurer, to confirm exactly what you’re covered for. If you’re wanting to access private treatment, private health insurance is recommended.