Treating Alcoholism Reduces Financial Burden on Families, Study Finds

Treating alcoholism saves families money, largely by cutting down on expenses related to alcohol and cigarettes, a new study finds.

The study of 48 German families with an alcoholic member found that after one year of treatment, family costs directly related to alcoholism dropped from an average of $832 per month to $178 per month, according to HealthDay.

Costs for alcohol fell from an average of $310 per month to $87 per month, while cigarette costs dropped from $114 per month to $79 per month after a year of treatment. The average amount of time spent caring for an alcoholic family member decreased from 32 hours each month to eight hours a month.

“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,” lead researcher Dr. Hans Joachim Salize said in a news release. “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 results appear in the journal Addiction.