Alcohol Addiction Resources for Different Demographics and Populations

6 min read · 11 sections
Addiction, clinically referred to as a substance use disorder, affects people from all walks of life, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, cultural background, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, or any other factors. Therefore, no single treatment is appropriate for everyone. Effective treatment considers the personal characteristics of the individual.1 Thus, specific populations and groups of people—such as Veterans, women, people of different races and ethnicities, and the LGBTQIA+ community, to name a few—may benefit from specialized programs targeted to address their unique needs. Specialized treatment programs recognize this, with care options designed to make you feel understood and accepted as you work toward sobriety.
What you will learn:
How addiction affects certain populations
The resources and recovery options available to certain populations with alcohol use and mental health disorders, too

Who Alcohol Addiction Affects

Individuals in the United States use alcohol widely. Drinking is often perceived as normal behavior.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2021, 47.5% (or 133.1 million people aged 12 or older) drank alcohol within the past month of the survey in the United States.2 Additionally, over 10% (or 29.5 million individuals aged 12 or older) reported past-year alcohol use disorder (AUD).2 While not every individual who engages in some alcohol use in their lifetime develops an AUD, it is estimated that 30% of adults in the United States will.3 Certain factors—such as genetics, drinking at an early age, exposure to a parent’s misuse of alcohol, and mental health conditions like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—may increase an individual’s risk of developing an AUD. Additionally, some populations may be more susceptible to problem alcohol use than others.

The LGBTQIA+ Community

For many in the LGBTQIA+ community, poor cultural and/or socioeconomic conditions negatively impact their mental health, and research indicates that adults who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual are nearly twice as likely as heterosexual adults to experience a substance use disorder, and transgender individuals are nearly 4 times as likely to have a substance use disorder compared to their cisgender counterparts.4,5

To put it into perspective, in 2020, 63.8% of lesbian, gay, or bisexual individuals aged 18 or older had an AUD. That’s 3.5 million people. Additionally, 3.9 million gay, lesbian, or bisexual adults aged 18 or older had a co-occurring substance use and mental health disorder.6

Resources for Members of the LGBTQIA+ Community with an Alcohol Addiction

The number of specialized treatment programs and LGBTQIA+-specific treatment centers across the nation is rising. These programs provide a safe and supportive space for members of the LGBTQIA+ community to heal and recover.

Many of our American Addiction Centers (AAC) facilities offer a designated LGBTQIA+ addiction recovery program to address the unique experiences and challenges this group of individuals face. Some of the topics covered in our LGBTQIA+ treatment track include healthy relationships, identity awareness, coping with negative stigmas, family dynamics, and support for family members of LGBTQIA+ individuals.

Additional resources include:

Partnership to End Addiction’s LGBTQ+, Family, and Substance Use. Parents can find free resources to help them locate a LGBTQ+-friendly treatment, what to consider in terms of medication, and more.

The Family Acceptance Project. This site provides resources for LGBTQ+ youth and their families nationwide in an effort to decrease mental health risks and promote well-being.

The Trevor Project. Crisis counselors answer calls, chats, or texts from LGBTQ+ young people, who are struggling with issues related to depression, suicide, or something else, and need free confidential and secure support 24/7.

Native Americans

There are several factors that affect American Indians and Alaska Native communities, which can increase their risk of developing alcohol addiction. Some of the major risk factors that these communities face include historical trauma, lack of easy access to healthcare, lower educational attainment, poverty, housing problems, unemployment, violence, loss of connection to culture, and mental health issues.7

Mental health illnesses, particularly anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are more common among American Indians and Alaska Natives than other Americans.7 Additionally, American Indian and Alaska Native communities disproportionately struggle with suicide compared to other Americans. For example, suicide rates for Alaska Natives more than double those for the entire U.S. population.7

Furthermore, binge drinking and alcohol use disorder occur among American Indians and Alaska Natives at relatively high rates.7

Research indicates that maintaining ties to one’s culture can help treat co-occurring substance use and the mental health disorders.7

Resources for Native Americans with an Alcohol Addiction

Some facilities offer specialty programming for American Indians and Alaska Natives that focus on balance, harmony, and interconnectedness that contributes to these communities’ spirituality and makes up part of their spiritual needs.7 Studies suggest that treatments that incorporate American Indians’ and Alaska Natives’ traditional methods of healing with other modified forms of therapy are most successful.8 For instance, motivational interviewing, a counseling method used to increase motivation toward making positive changes and building self-confidence, has been effective in the treatment of some American Indian and Alaska Native individuals when cultural adaptations are made. These include social interactions that involve a spiritual aspect and a reliance on spirituality, extended family, and tribe or clan relations as motivational factors.8

The Indian Health Service (IHS), a federal health program for American Indians and Alaska Natives, helps members of this community find behavioral health facilities near them.

The IHS’ Alcohol and Substance Abuse Branch (ASAB) implements alcohol programs within tribal communities, including inpatient and outpatient rehab in rural and urban settings. You can also explore treatment options that accept IHS funding using their treatment locator.

IHS’ Telehealth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence provides direct, ongoing care via televideo to patients at HIS/Tribal/Urban Indian-operated facilities. Services include addictions psychiatry; adult therapy and psychiatry; family, couples, and group therapy; and trauma, PTSD therapy.

African Americans and Afro-Caribbean Americans

According to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 21% of Black and African Americans reported having a mental illness, but only 39% of them received any sort of mental health services.10 Additionally, a little over 10% of Black adult Americans aged 12 or older had an alcohol use disorder that year.2

Nearly 4 in 10 U.S. Black adults reported at least one perceived racial discrimination in their lifetime. Among these individuals, lifetime patterns of substance use were also common. One study of a large, nationally representative example of African American and Afro-Caribbean Americans found that participants who experienced perceived racial discrimination had higher odds of both individual and lifetime polysubstance use than those who did not experience perceived racial discrimination.10

Furthermore, while suicide rates decreased in the United States in 2020, suicide was the third leading cause of death among African Americans between the ages of 10 and 24 and African American men between the ages of 25 and 34.9

Resources for African Americans and Afro-Caribbean Americans with an Alcohol Addiction

Unfortunately, young African American adults are less likely than other young adults to receive treatment for substance use disorder treatment. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends that in order to get more young Black people into treatment, programs must be located in a convenient and safe place, should include trauma-informed care, and be staffed with individuals who represent the population served, among other things. Programs that provide a space where African Americans feel accepted and understood are vital.11

All of AAC’s facilities offer trauma-based therapies, which help address the underlying issues that contribute to substance misuse and addiction.

There are several resources for African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans that focus on behavioral health. These resources include:

The African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence. This new resource, funded by SAMHSA, aims to transform behavioral health services for African Americans, making it more accessible, more inclusive, more culturally appropriate, and more responsive. There are lots of resources available including free webinars, articles, guides, and essays. You can sign up for the newsletter to get the most up-to-date information.

Black Mental Health Alliance. This organization provides workshops and forums and referral services that support the mental health and well-being of Black people and their communities.

Lee Thompson Young Foundation. This organization focuses on mental health education in African American communities.

Brother, You’re on My Mind. An organization born from the partnership between the Omega Phi Psi Fraternity, Inc. and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities that focuses on changing the national dialogue surrounding mental health among African American men. You can download their free toolkit from the website.

Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders

In 2021, 8% of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) had an alcohol use disorder in the past year. That’s the lowest rate when compared to other ethnic groups. Additionally, among Americans aged 12 or older, Asian individuals were less likely to use alcohol, binge drink, or heavily drink in the past month, compared to other ethnic groups.2

However, because of these lower rates, alcohol use disorder—and other mental health disorders—are often hidden from family and friends, which can be a barrier to treatment. Data shows that less than 1% of all individuals who admit to a substance use treatment center identify themselves as AAPI.12

Resources for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders with an Alcohol Addiction

Some specialized treatment programs are available to accommodate the unique needs of the AAPI community, including:

The National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA). Dedicated to the promotion of the mental health and well-being of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities, NAAPIMHA provides a list of mental health and behavioral health service providers for AAPI individuals in all 50 states.

The National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse (NAPAFASA). This nonprofit organization strives to prevent and reduce substance use disorder among Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islander communities by presenting educational materials; promoting recovery, cessation, and harm reduction programs; and advocating for improved language access; among other initiatives.

Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations. This organization provides a mental health and substance use resource guide for Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

Pregnant Individuals

Pregnant individuals struggling with alcohol addiction may face unique challenges and barriers to treatment. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) and other birth defects, too.13

Despite the recommendations and known adverse effects, almost half of women in the U.S. consume alcohol during pregnancy.13 According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, a survey of more than 400,000 people from 2018-2020, by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 14% of pregnant people ages 18-49 reported current drinking. Additionally, 5% of those who reported current drinking reported binge drinking in the past 30 days.14

Resources for Pregnant People with an Alcohol Addiction

Treatment programs, managed by doctors and nurses who are experienced in treating pregnant women with substance use disorders, focus on the needs of pregnant women and safety of her and the baby. These programs help pregnant women manage the additional stresses, demands, and guilt that pregnancy can cause in women with a substance use disorder; offer parenting skills; provide education on how substance use affects a fetus; and prescribe medications (if necessary).15

Additional resources include:

The Academy of Perinatal Harm Reduction provide a free Pregnancy and Substance Use toolkit, which promotes the overall health and well-being of pregnant people, who use substances, as well as their families and caregivers.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a treatment locator tool, which allows you to search for substance use facilities, groups, and programs tailored to pregnant or postpartum women.

Postpartum Support International (PSI) connects you to local resources and support by phone, text, or email. The organization can connect pregnant and postpartum individuals and their families with local providers who are trained to treat perinatal disorders.

Older Adults

Alcohol addiction among older adults often goes undiagnosed or unreported. Yet, alcohol use disorder is a rising concern for this group of aging individuals.16 A 2022 analysis of national survey data estimated that more than 2 million adults, aged 65 or older, had an alcohol use disorder.17 The effects that alcohol has on the mind and body can change with age. Older individuals tend to have an increased sensitivity to alcohol, which can raise their risk of health problems. Additionally, older adults are more likely than their younger counterparts to take medications—many of which can produce dangerous interactions when mixed with alcohol.18,19

Resources for Older Adults with an Alcohol Addiction

Specialized treatment programs offer older adults a sense of community while feeling supported in recovery. Providers and professionals often have challenges diagnosing older adults with a substance use disorder because other factors associated with aging, like memory loss, can make addiction symptoms harder to recognize.18

Specialized treatment programs consider challenges like these by acknowledging and respecting differences in older people, creating an accessible treatment environment, and developing an age-sensitive workforce. A community atmosphere is also vital for older adults in recovery.18

Some tools and resources available to older adults with alcohol use disorder include the following:

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) offers “A.A. for the Older Alcoholic: Never Too Late,” a free online PDF—or $2 printed booklet—that shares the stories of recovery from 8 individuals over the age of 60. Additionally, individuals can find their local AA chapter and filter meeting results to locate senior-friendly options near them.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s treatment locator tool offers a filter to help older adults find local facilities, programs, and groups tailored to their needs.


Many military members see alcohol use as a part of their culture. Additionally, Veterans often experience traumatic events, including combat and death; suffer from mental health illnesses, and/or have difficulty adjusting to civilian life after deployment—all of which can influence their alcohol misuse and alcohol addiction.20

From 2001 to 2020, the prevalence of mental health or substance use disorder diagnoses among cohorts of recent Veteran VHA (Veterans Health Administration) users rose from 27.9% to 41.9%. Additionally, among those Veterans, who died from suicide in 2020, the prevalence of alcohol use disorder was nearly 20%.21

Resources for Veterans with an Alcohol Addiction

Specialized treatment programs for Veterans provide spaces for camaraderie and healing.

American Addiction Centers offers a specialized addiction treatment program for Veterans at several of our facilities. The program helps Veterans recover by utilizing strength-based therapy and evidence-based approaches to support Veterans. These interventions include stress management, treatment for depression and anxiety, anger management, emotion regulation, and more.

Through Veterans Affairs (VA), Veterans may have access to services such as medically managed detox, medications for addiction treatment, counseling, outpatient programs, inpatient treatment, mutual-help groups, residential care, ongoing care, co-occurring disorder treatment, and special programs with Veterans with specific concerns—such as women Veterans, returning combat Veterans, and homeless Veterans.

The Homeless

Typically, people who are homeless and have an alcohol use disorder have co-occurring mental health disorders. However, they often face numerous barriers to treatment. Studies indicate that alcohol problems are strong contributors to the initiation of homelessness.22 Studies also show higher levels of alcohol use disorder among homeless populations, with about 60% reporting alcohol use disorder in their lifetime and about 40% reporting past-year alcohol use disorder—both far higher than the general population prevalence rates.22

Resources for Homeless Individuals with an Alcohol Addiction

Treatment programs for the homeless provide more than just addiction treatment. Some facilities care for homeless people with addiction in inpatient rehabs, where the individual lives for the duration of treatment. Other facilities offer outpatient programs with housing assistance. Additionally, after an individual completes a program, aftercare services, like sober housing, can help a homeless individual get back on their feet while maintaining recovery. Some resources for the homeless include:

Treatment for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness (TIEH) provides mental and substance use disorders screening and assessments, directs treatment for serious co-occurring disorders, assists with finding permanent housing, offers case management and recovery support services, and helps individuals enroll for health insurance, Medicaid, and other options.

Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) services include community-based screening and diagnostic treatment, habilitation and rehabilitation, substance use disorders treatment, referrals for primary healthcare, job training, educational services, and housing.

The VA offers help for homeless Veterans. The National Call Center for Homeless Veterans is a helpline for Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Veterans can make the call, or family and friends can call on their behalf.

Individuals Living in Rural Communities

People living in rural communities—and struggling with alcohol use disorder—often lack the resources available to those living in more urban areas.24 Several studies have examined disparities in the treatment services provided in rural communities compared with those offered in urban areas. For instance, studies have found that rural treatment facilities are often less likely to offer detoxification, transitional housing, day treatment, also known as partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), and specialty services.

Resources for Individuals Living in Rural Areas with Alcohol Addiction

There are programs and initiatives that provide funding and resources for rural communities to address substance misuse and addiction.

The Rural Community Toolbox offers federal resources for rural communities, including hotline numbers and directories of providers offering substance use treatment and support services related to recovery.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s treatment locator tool allows individuals to find substance use treatment facilities within 25, 50, even 100 miles of where they live.

Finding Resources in Your Area

You can find treatment resources in your area in many ways. Searching on your local government website for health services, behavioral health services, or substance use services is a great start. Many states have lists of resources and treatment centers that serve your community.

You can use SAMHSA’s treatment locator to filter your search by location, facility type, treatment approaches, and payment accepted. Or you can visit, an American Addiction Centers (AAC) site, which allows you to filter to find treatment facilities near you. AAC can also help you by phone. Call to speak with an admissions navigator who can listen to your story, explain your options, and connect you with the resources you need to start your recovery journey today.

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