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Family burden in alcohol dependence: A study in north-eastern India

Surajit Kumar Sen, Robin Victor, Kaveri Saxena.

Background: Substance abuse and dependence besides affecting the individual also has substantial impact upon the family. It puts the whole family through a physical, psychological, emotional and financial stress.

Objectives: The aim of the present study was to assess the various socio-demographic variables of alcohol-dependent patients as well as their primary care givers and evaluate the severity and pattern of family burden among them.

Material and Methods: A cross-sectional single interview case study done at Silchar Medical College and Hospital Assam after obtaining permission from ethics committee. Briefly, 50 cases were selected serially from the Psychiatry Outpatient department fulfilling the ICD-10 criteria of alcohol dependence syndrome and the primary care givers of these cases were assessed to evaluate the pattern and severity of family burden which was assessed via family burden interview scale.

Results: Majority of alcohol dependence cases were from the age range of 35 to 44 years (44%) while their primary care givers from 30 to 39 years (44%). Most of cases had their spouses (74%) as the primary care givers and 1014 years of alcohol dependence (34%). Majority the primary care givers suffered from moderate type of family burden especially in area such as disruption of routine family activity, recreation and family interaction. Higher family burden was associated with equal to or more than 15 years of alcohol dependence which was statistically significant in most of the areas. Higher subjective burden was also observed when the primary care givers were spouse, cases were from rural areas, having nuclear family type with being illiterate/primary educated, belonging to lower/lower socio-economic group, and were financially dependent on others (unemployed/housewives).

Conclusion: The severity of family burden is greatly influenced by the socio-demographic variables of the families as well as the duration of the substance dependence of the cases.

Key words: Alcoholism, caregiver, cost of illness, socio-economic status

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