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Alcohol Alcohol. 1996 Nov;31(6):565-76.

The SECCAT survey: I. The costs and consequences of alcoholism.

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  • 1Health Economics Research Group, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UK.


The SECCAT survey assessed the Socio-Economic Costs and Consequences of Alcoholism Treatment. Basic demographic and health service resource use data (for a previous 6-month period) were obtained fro a cohort of 586 eligible patients who had had treatment at the Alcohol Problems Clinic (APC) in Edinburgh. The cohort was 75% male with a mean age of 46.0 years. Seventy-six per cent had an initial diagnosis of alcohol dependence and 21% alcohol abuse. Use of health services was highly variable. Thirty-six per cent agreed to be interviewed to provide data on their level of abstinence, on resource use, on quality of life (SF-36), on socio-economic characteristics and key adverse events. These 212 individuals had similar age and sex ratios to the full cohort, but alcohol abusers were under-represented. Nineteen patients reported no days of abstinence and 41 were abstinent over the whole 6-month period. Patients experienced a much poorer quality of life than a normal population in terms of all dimensions of the SF-36. The average total health care costs of the interviewed patients were 1134 pounds of which 38% were related to treatment at the APC. Analysis suggests that alcohol-dependent patients make substantially more costly use of resources than abusers and experience a much poorer quality of life. No clear relationship of cost to degree of abstinence has been found. There is a clear and consistent relationship of SF-36 scores and drinking behavior.

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