Treating Alcoholics Can Save Their Families Money

A recent study by German researchers that was published on Sept. 24 in the online edition of the journal “Addiction” found that treating alcoholics can significantly reduce the financial burden of their addiction on their families.

Through a survey of 48 German families with an alcoholic member, the researchers found that costs to the family that were a direct result of the family member’s alcoholism dropped from $832 per month to $178 per month on average, or from about 20 percent to just over 4 percent of pre-tax family income, following 12 months of treatment.

Even in cases where the alcoholic member of the family relapsed, the treatment lowered the burden on families by about $80 per month on average.

Looking at what was causing the cost to families, researchers found that the two biggest average monthly costs before treatment were alcoholic beverages ($310) and cigarettes ($114). After one year of treatment, those costs were reduced to $87 and $79, respectively.

Families also saw benefits in terms of time, as the researchers discovered that families that had needed to spend an average of 32 hours per month treating the alcoholic only needed to spend eight hours per month after 12 months of treatment.

In a news release, lead author of the study Dr. Hans Joachim Salize of Mannheim’s Central Institute of Mental Health noted that by focusing on the costs and benefits of treatment rather than problems related to alcoholism such as depression and domestic violence, the study was targeting a new area of addition research.

 Source: US News Health

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