Alcoholism and family life Alcoholism and family roles Alcoholism and family problems Alcoholism and family relationships Alcoholism and family violence Alcoholism and family denial Alcoholism and family history Alcoholism and family statistics Alcoholism. Family Benefits From Treating Alcoholism, Medpage Today

Treating alcohol addiction reduces its burden on the family budget and improves life for those who live with alcoholic patients, German researchers found. Alcoholism and family.

Direct expenditures for alcohol and related items dropped from 20% of the family's total pretax income to just 4% at 1 year after starting treatment, according to Hans Joachim Salize, PhD, of the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany, and colleagues.

Time spent caring for the alcoholic dropped by a factor of four and quality of life in the family rose as well, the group reported online in Addiction.

"These are important but often neglected additional measures of the burden on family members and also treatment benefits," they wrote.

While the effects of alcoholism on the partners and family members of addicts are generally agreed to be enormous, studies have typically looked only at specific aspects, like its impact on domestic violence, they explained.

So for a more comprehensive estimate, the investigators assessed the primary informal caregiver living in the house with an alcoholic patient at baseline and then 12 months after the affected individual started in-patient or out-patient treatment at one of three psychiatric university hospitals in Germany.

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Most of those assessed were spouses or partners (81%) along with some parents (8%) and adult children (10%) that acted as caregivers.

Most of the patients remained clean through follow-up, though 27% had a relapse at some point.

Overall, nonmedical expenses directly related to the family member's alcoholism totaled up to $868 (€676) per month before treatment, largely in alcohol and cigarettes.

That figure fell from baseline to an average of $186 (€145 ) at 12 months, which was statistically significant at P=0.0032.

Family members spent an average 32 hours a month caring for, assisting, and supervising the alcoholic at baseline, which was the equivalent of $274 in minimum-wage nursing wages in Germany that "may be valued as an additional financial burden."

Alcoholism and family life Alcoholism and family roles Alcoholism and family problems Alcoholism and family relationships Alcoholism and family violence Alcoholism and family denial Alcoholism and family history Alcoholism and family statistics Alcoholism

That time dropped to just 8 hours a month at follow-up after treatment, which was evenly split between in- and out-patient programs.

Those changes no doubt contributed to the improvement in quality-of-life scores from an average 60.6 to 68.0 on the 100-point scale, which included significant boosts in physical, psychological, social relationship, and environment subscales.

That benefit tended to be greater when the addicted family member didn't relapse, but in-patient treatment wasn't associated with a greater impact than out-patient programs.

The average cost in alcoholism treatment to gain one quality life-year (QALY) for family members was $26,193 (€20,398) overall but just $7,024 (€5,470) with out-patient treatment for addiction, both of which fall well within accepted thresholds for cost-effectiveness.

The researchers noted that their sample was similar to national averages for family income but cautioned about the small sample size and lack of a control group.

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"Therefore, all results and conclusions must be considered as exploratory," they warned, adding that "the findings suggest an influence, but cannot be interpreted as simply the effect of alcoholism treatment."

Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner

Posted by at 11:24PM

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