That is probably a headline that you did not expect. Living with an alcoholic and there is good news. For most people who live with an alcoholic good news is rare. If you live with an alcoholic you probably feel that your life is one disaster after a crisis after a tragedy. Also you probably feel that there is little in the way of support for you and your situation. You are not alone.
The World Health Organisation estimates that globally there are 2billion people with an alcohol disorder, around 12 million in the USA and 1.1 million in the UK. As you know only too well, the alcoholic does not just harm himself, other people are affected by his drinking. How many are affected vary depending on what reports you read, the most common is that each drinker affects around three other people. So that is around 36 million people in the USA and 3.3 million in the UK affected by someone else’s drinking.
You are probably asking, so how is that good news? Its not really but what is good news is that more people (physicians, researchers and administrators) are taking notice and more money and time is being spent on investigating the issue and possible solutions.
One of the main reasons for the interest is financial, of course. Although it has been known for some time, we now have some research that shows that people living with an alcoholic have higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression, and have need to use medical and social services to a greater degree than the rest of the population.
So at last the good news is that there is much more research around the issue and an increased interest in introducing services specifically for the families of alcoholics. Until now the usual focus for the helping services has been the alcoholic. When family therapy was offered, it tended to be still focussed at the alcoholic with the family being shown how they could help to support his recovery. Now with the introduction of programs like Bottled-up, the focus has swung to helping and supporting the families.
So is this kind of treatment effective? That is the best part of the news, the answer is very much YES. The research shows that for anyone engaging in programs such as Bottled-Up there are significant improvements in Stress, Anxiety and Depression. Further the research shows that there are significant savings to be made for the medical services and governments as there are savings to be made of around $5 to made for every $1 spent. Now that is a good result.
Finally there is even better news. Not only did the family member’s health improve and their stress levels decrease but there was also an effect on the drinker. It appears that the bonus for these families was that there was a greater likelihood of their drinker seeking treatment. So as you can see, if you live with an alcoholic, there actually is some good news.
If you want to find out more about the Bottled Up program about living with alcoholism then visit the Bottled Up website.