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Talking to Clergy Members May Help Alcohol Abusers

Posted in Alcohol Abuse

A new study from the University of Michigan Health System and Saint Louis University has found that people suffering from alcohol dependency and problem drinking can find solace by using clergy services, suggesting that clergy services can be an important aspect of recovery.

The researchers surveyed 1,910 people with alcohol-related problems, and 14.7 percent used clergy services. Most of those who used clergy services also used professional services, and only .5 percent used clergy services just for their problems with alcohol.

Examining the use of clergy services among people who sought treatment for alcohol abuse and comparing the characteristics of the people who used clergy services with those of people who used other types of services to seek help, the researchers found that many people who used clergy services were Black, between the ages of 35 and 54, had a history of alcohol dependence, and suffered from depression or personality disorders They also found that people who were alcohol dependent were more likely to have used clergy services for alcohol-related problems than people who weren’t alcohol dependent or didn’t abuse alcohol.

Amy Bohnert, Ph.D., M.H.S., lead author of the study and assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, said their findings suggest that people who can be classified as alcohol abusers tend to have problems with the legal system, work, and social situations, and may be more likely to be placed in treatment through social services or the courts.

Brian Perron, assistant professor of social work at the University of Michigan, said that rabbits, priests, ministers, and other clergy members are in an ideal position to help addicts because they are involved in their communities and see their congregants on a regular basis, which allows them to notice changes in behavior. Clergy are also often highly regarded by their community, especially in African American communities. Congregates also tend to feel that they can talk to clergy members in confidence.

Source: Science Daily, Individuals Confess Alcohol Abuse to Clergy, July 14, 2010