This new study by Alcohol Research UK examines the effect of living with a family member who is dependent on alcohol or other substances and the impact of recovery.
The study found
- Family members are both a resource to support recovery, and people whose own lives can be transformed through recovery, and who will benefit from their family member’s recovery journey.
- Heavy and dependent drinking is associated with a range of secondary problems within families, including financial problems, mental health issues, problems at work and interpersonal violence.
- ‘Recovery’ journeys are experienced by families as a period of positive change, but also emotional challenge, and starting on this journey does not mean full or immediate reversal of the damage done.
- Where recovery is successful, family members can experience significant improvements to quality of life and wellbeing, including reduced domestic conflict, less use of healthcare, and improved personal finances.
- By comparison to successful recovery, relapse can lead to poorer physical and psychological health, and poorer quality of life for family members
Commenting, Vanessa Hebditch, Director of Communications and Policy at the Trust said, “Although many people who are diagnosed with liver disease and liver cancer do not drink alcohol and have never done so, drinking alcohol to excess is still the leading cause of liver disease and liver cancer in the UK. You do not need to be an alcoholic to do your liver harm and many people may be dependent or drinking at a level where they are harming themselves and not realise the damage they are doing. This important study reveals the huge gains of recovery not just for the individual concerned but their wider family.”
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