-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Treating alcoholics
greatly reduces the financial burden their addiction places on
their families, according to a small new study.
Researchers looked at 48 German families with an alcoholic
member. After 12 months of treatment, family costs directly related
to the family member's alcoholism fell from an average of $832 per
month to an average of $178 per month.
The average costs associated with alcoholism decreased from
about 20 percent to slightly more than 4 percent of the total
pre-tax family income, the study found.
In cases of relapse, treatment for alcoholism reduced the
financial burden on families by an average of $80 per month.
Two of the largest alcoholism-related costs to families prior to
treatment were alcoholic beverages (an average of $310 per month)
and cigarettes (an average of $114 per month). One year into
treatment, those costs fell to $87 and $79 per month,
The researchers also found that, after 12 months of treatment,
the average amount of time spent caring for the alcoholic family
member fell from 32 hours per month to eight hours per month.
The study was published online Sept. 24 in the journal
"We're opening up an area of addiction research that doesn't receive much attention," lead author Dr. Hans Joachim Salize, of the Central Institute of Mental Health, in Mannheim, said in a journal news release.
"When they look at effects on families, addiction studies mainly focus on problems such as domestic violence and depression, not on the financial burden of caring for an alcoholic.," Salize said. "But when health services and policymakers study the costs and benefits of treating alcoholism, they need to know that treatment has an immense financial effect not just on the alcoholic but also on his or her spouse, partner, children and parents. The benefits of treatment reach well beyond the individual patient."
The American Psychological Association has more about
alcohol use disorders and their treatments.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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