Treating Alcoholism Reduces the Strain on Family Finances
Many studies on alcoholism have focused on how the symptoms of the disease hurt the individual and their family. Alcoholism can spur verbal and physical abuse. It can cause liver damage, impair the brain, and interfere with multiple other disorders of the body. Treatment can help alleviate these symptoms and rebuild better bodies, minds, and family/friend relationships. Few studies though have examined how alcoholism can hurt the pocketbook and how treatment can help families recover from the financial strain that alcoholism has placed on them.
A recent study published in the online journal, Addiction, revealed the substantial family savings that can be gained after having a family member engaged in an alcoholic treatment program. After one year of treatment, the families involved in the study had their average costs due to alcoholism decrease from nearly 20 percent to about four percent of the family’s pre-tax income.
Lead author, Dr. Hans Joachim Salize, of the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany, asserts that this new way of analyzing the effects of addiction may help families see an even greater benefit in seeking treatment than even the immense benefit of healing both the body and the mind.
Reducing Costs, Reducing Strain
Financial burdens only add to the stresses of helping someone with alcoholism recover. Material costs add up just as physical and emotional costs. But, after a few initial costs, researchers have uncovered how treatment can help families regain some of their financial losses.
Forty-eight families participated in the study. Each family had a member that had completed treatment for alcoholism of at least 12 months. After a year of treatment, researchers noticed a drop in costs that were associated with the family member’s alcoholism. Costs dropped, on average per month, from $832 to $178.
Alcohol and Tobacco
Not everyone who drinks alcohol smokes, and not everyone who smokes drinks alcohol; however, researchers found a great link between the two. Before treatment, families were spending an average per month of $310 on alcoholic beverages and an average per month of $114 on cigarettes. After a year of treatment, those costs fell to $87 for alcoholic beverages per month and $79 for cigarettes per month.
Time is money
Tangible costs are not the only measure in financial loss. Time spent caring for alcoholic individuals can take time away from work or enjoyable family time. Time is an investment, and its loss is like a financial loss. Treatment also helped families regain time.
After a year of treatment, families gained back an average of 24 hours a month that they had spent taking care of an alcoholic family member.
Investing time in treatment is one of the best financial investments a family can make.