Caregivers
are individuals who carry the responsibility for physical and emotional needs
of another who is incapable of self-care. Addiction to Alcohol is a major risk to an individual and society but
the maximum strain of the disorder is borne by the family. The importance of
care increases in patients with mental illnesses where family stands to top the
list. This stands true in India because of numerous reasons like the convention
of interdependence, the dependence on the family, and the inadequate number of
mental health experts. Alcohol use disorder is a major problem in most
countries at both social and personal threats. According to Global Status
Report on Alcohol, Alcohol dependence accounts for 1.4 per cent of the global
disease burden. A nationwide Indian study on alcohol and by Sarkar et al.
estimated the prevalence of alcohol use as 21.4%. Alcohol Use Disorder
Identification Test (AUDIT) conducted in south India showed 14.2% of hazardous
alcohol use. A study from South India in tertiary care hospital at a rural
district showed 17.6% of patients who were admitted had hazardous alcohol use. Alcohol
dependence is a “family disease.” Dependence on alcohol affects the individual
as well as those around them in terms of employment and social dysfunction,
physical and emotional distress, and financial burden which has a serious
impact on the lives of the significant others. Several Studies have been
conducted comparing the family burden of patients with alcohol dependence by
using the Family Burden Interview Schedule which showed moderate to severe
burden in all groups under study. A study from Nepal depicted alcohol dependent
patients had increased caregiver burden in both the groups; however the burden
was more with intravenous drug users than alcohol dependent patients. The study
also reported that the spouses of both alcohol dependent patients and also
intravenous drug abusers exhibited more tolerance and less perceived burden
towards the substance use when compared to the other family members like parents,
children, and siblings. Although such studies have been conducted in the
Northern part of India, the number of such studies is limited in Southern India
and central India. Alcohol is one of the commonest substances being misused. It
becomes important to understand the burden on caregivers.