Alcohol Problems


  • Do you have problems at work or with family or friends because of drinking?
  • Have people expressed concern about your drinking?
  • Do you justify your drinking to yourself or others by saying you drink because you feel socially uncomfortable or are under a lot of stress?
  • Do you get cravings for alcohol or get the sweats or shakes if you go a few days without a drink?
  • Do you drink when alone or hide your drinking? Do have a drink first thing in the morning?
  • Do you lie about how much or how often you drink and/or make promises to stop? (to yourself or others)
  • Do you feel guilty, depressed, sad, or angry after drinking or drunken behavior?
  • Do you ever drink until you cannot drink anymore? Have you ever had a loss of memory or a blackout from drinking?
  • Have you ever had health or legal problems, or an accident because of drinking or drunken behavior?
  • Do you think about where to get your next drink or feel irritated or anxious if you have no access to alcohol? Do you forget to do routine things (like picking up your children from school) or important occasions because you have started drinking?
  • Do you think you have a problem with alcohol?

 Four or more YES answers indicate an alcohol problem

Help for Alcohol Problems

Alcohol abuse is a problem that can affect people of any age. Right now you need to focus your energy and give your health the highest priority, to help you cope with your diagnosis and treatment. If you think you have a problem with alcohol, the most important thing is to do something about it. If you are not sure or have questions, please contact one of the organizations listed below…they are experts, and they are here to help you.

Local Services

Horizons Health Services Over 10 outpatient mental health and drug and alcohol clinics in WNY.
Phone: (716) 831-1800

Erie County Medical Center Substance Abuse Services
Phone: (716) 898-3000
Outpatient services

  • Downtown clinic (716) 883-4517
  • Northern Erie clinic (716) 874-5536
  • Southern Erie clinic (716) 648-7584

Erie County Alcohol and Drug Dependency Services Inc. 
Phone: (716) 855-0163

City of Buffalo Division of Substance Abuse Services
Phone: (716) 886-2137

Alcoholics Anonymous
Phone (Buffalo area): (716) 853-0388
Find AA local meetings here

BryLin Hospital Phone: (716) 886-8200

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Help for Alcohol and Drug Abuse

You can find many different kinds of help for a drinking or drug problem. Some people just make a decision and stop drinking on their own. Others need more structure and/or assistance. You may need to try more than one method or go to more than one support group or counselor before you find what works best for you.

Counseling: In individual counseling, you meet with a mental health or substance abuse counselor one-on-one.
Medication: Your primary doctor can prescribe medications that may help. Naltrexone acts in the brain to reduce the craving for alcohol, camprosate reduces anxiety and insomnia that may occur after a lengthy abstinence from alcohol, and disulfiram makes you feel sick if you drink alcohol. Other types of drugs are available to help manage symptoms.
Detoxification: If you have a physical addiction to alcohol, then withdrawal from alcohol needs to be done under a doctor’s supervision to avoid serious risks to your health. Detox programs take place in hospitals and alcohol treatment facilities.
Inpatient treatment: Checking into an inpatient facility means you must participate in a highly structured program of individual and group therapy. The goal of an inpatient program is to help the person become drug free and then to prepare him or her for a life back in the community.
Intensive outpatient treatment: This program is like an inpatient program, but you will not live at the treatment center.

Self-Help Groups

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are known as “12 step” programs. They believe alcohol and narcotic addiction are physical diseases that can be overcome by following the 12 steps. Group meetings provide ongoing support and a place to reinforce sobriety. Programs have been developed for those who are close to someone struggling with addiction: Al –Anon and Alateen (alcohol) and Nar- Anon (narcotics).

Women for Sobriety believe that women have a different set of psychological needs than men when it comes to alcohol addiction. (This is based on statistics that men do better in traditional AA programs.) Their "New Life" program is based on the Thirteen Statements and involves group meetings to encourage emotional and spiritual growth. This program can be used alone or with other programs. 

Rational Recovery takes an opposing view from AA, believing that people who recover through self-restraint do much better than those who remain in recovery groups or addiction treatment programs. Recovery is accomplished through a personal commitment to permanent abstinence called “the Big Plan”. 

Online Resources

Rethinking Drinking For anyone who drinks, this site offers valuable, research-based information. What do you think about taking a look at your drinking habits and how they may affect your health

National Institutes of Health Frequently Asked Questions on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism