Information for the public
Treatments for children and young people
The treatments for children and young people aged 10–17 are similar to those for adults described above, but care staff need to take your age into account.
When you first see any care staff about your drinking problem, they should find out how long you have been drinking for, how severe the problem is, whether you have any other health problems or problems at home or at school, and whether you need planned withdrawal from alcohol (see treatments for moderate and severe alcohol dependence).
You should then be offered an appointment at a centre that specialises in mental health problems in children and young people (called a child and adolescent mental health service or CAMHS). At this specialist service, care staff should aim to find out more about your drinking and life in general. They should ask about how much alcohol you drink and when you drink, about any other mental or physical illnesses you have, about possible risks to yourself or others because of your drinking and whether you are also using drugs. They should also ask about life at home and school or work, and whether you are ready and able to make a positive change to your drinking. Depending on your age and if you agree, your family or carer may also be asked for information about your drinking. This will help care staff to advise on the most suitable care for you.
Care staff should discuss and agree the goal of treatment with you, which should usually be to stop drinking altogether.
If your drinking is found to be a serious problem you should be offered planned withdrawal from alcohol (see treatments for moderate and severe alcohol dependence) in hospital.
Whether or not you have planned withdrawal from alcohol, you should be offered a psychological treatment called cognitive behavioural therapy (or CBT for short), which can help you to stop drinking and stay alcohol-free and well in the future. If you have other problems or illnesses you should be offered psychological treatments involving all the family.
If you are aged between 16 and 18 and psychological treatments involving your family have not helped you, you may also be offered medication (acamprosate or naltrexone, see treatments for moderate and severe alcohol dependence) as well as CBT to help you to stop drinking and stay alcohol-free and well.