, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 255-261

Quality of Life in alcohol-dependent subjects – a review

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Although alcohol misuse is a major cause of morbidity and mortality and an important health care burden, the Quality of Life (QoL) of alcohol misusing subjects has been little studied to date. For example, only 5 out of 442 accepted abstracts at a recent international QoL conference concerned alcohol-dependent subjects. This paper reviews the ongoing and published work in the area focusing upon QoL characteristics of alcohol-dependent subjects, the link between QoL comorbidity and alcoholism, QoL alcohol dependency and social environment, changes in QoL status as a result of abstinence, minimal or controlled drinking, QoL as a predictor of relapse to heavy drinking and the importance of using a QoL measure when assessing treatment outcomes together with some of the present difficulties with existing measures. The main conclusions from the review were that the QoL of alcohol-dependent subjects is very poor but improved as a result of abstinence, controlled or minimal drinking. The important factors in the QoL of alcohol-dependent subjects are psychiatric comorbidity, social environment and disturbed sleep.