Aims: Alcohol dependence is associated with high rates of co-occurring disorders which impact health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and add to the cost-of-illness. This study investigated the burden of alcohol dependence and associated co-occurring conditions on health and productivity. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in eight European countries. Physicians (Psychiatrists and General Practitioners) completed patient record forms, which included assessment of co-occurring conditions, and patients completed matching self-completion forms. Drinking risk level (DRL) was calculated and the relationship between DRL, co-occurring conditions, work productivity, hospitalisations and rehabilitation stays was explored. Results: Data were collected for 2979 alcohol-dependent patients (mean age 48.8 ± 13.6 years; 70% male). In total, 77% of patients suffered from moderate-to-severe co-occurring psychiatric and/or somatic conditions. High DRL was significantly associated with depression, greater work productivity losses, increased hospitalisations and rehabilitation stays. Co-occurring conditions were significantly associated with poorer HRQoL and decreased work productivity, with a statistical trend towards an increased frequency of rehabilitation stays. Conclusions: Alcohol-dependent patients manifest high rates of co-occurring psychiatric and somatic conditions, which are associated with impaired work productivity and HRQoL. The continued burden of illness observed in these already-diagnosed patients suggests an unmet need in both primary and secondary care.
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