Alcohol Abuse & Dependence: Where To Get Help

It was previously believed that the human brain was fully developed by adolescence (12 – 18 years old), but in fact the brain continues developing well into the mid-20s, and possibly even the early 30s.


A lesser known fact relating to alcohol use and abuse is that the developing brain is especially vulnerable to alcohol’s toxic effects; resulting in younger users being at higher risk for poor long-term memory, cognitive impairment and poor executive functioning (i.e. reasoning, task flexibility, problem solving, planning & execution).  

The question then is: Where can a young person go to get help for a drinking problem?

Alcoholics Anonymous (South Africa)

“Alcoholics Anonymous is a voluntary, worldwide fellowship of men and women from all walks of life who meet together to attain and maintain sobriety. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership.” – 

For more information on: what A.A. is, what A.A. does and does not do and a list of meeting venues and times please visit the A.A. South Africa website at:


South African National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence (SANCA)

“SANCA operates eleven in-patient treatment centres for adults and four in-patient treatment centres for adolescents in the country. All 30 local SANCA centres render out-patient treatment programmes. The average duration of an in-patient treatment programme for adults is between 21 and 28 days. Out-patient treatment programmes range from early intervention, with a minimum of seven sessions to comprehensive out-patient treatment programmes lasting up to 16 weeks.” – 

For more information on SANCAs treatment programmes and centre contact details please visit the SANCA National Directorate website at:

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Seggie, J. (2012). Alcohol and South Africa’s Youth. South African Medical Journal, 102(7), 587