A recent study at Bellevue Hospital in NYC, New York shows that homeless individuals with alcohol addiction usually began their alcohol abuse as children. New York University School of Medicine physician and leas study author Dr. Ryan McCormack stated “For people who have homes and jobs, it is difficult to imagine the level of despair these people experience day in and day out, or the all-consuming focus on getting the next drink that overrides even the most basic human survival instinct. Most do not come to my ER voluntarily, but end up there because of public intoxication. The majority of patients in this study consistently left the hospital prior to the completion of medical care.”
The study on alcohol addiction among the homeless and alcohol abuse that started at a young age shows the importance of early intervention programs. Dr. McCormack continued by saying “As their capacity to envision a future diminishes, they increasingly lose motivation for personal recovery. An alcoholic is first a human being. We hypothesize that more accessible, lower-barrier, patient-centered interventions that support alcohol harm reduction and quality of life improvement can be translated into the emergency department setting and this population.” The study included 20 homeless patients with alcohol addiction who had received treatment at least 4 times per year in the Bellevue ER for at least 2 years in a row. All 20 of the study participants reported that alcohol addiction was the cause of their homelessness, and they all admitted that their alcohol abuse began as children. The study was published and can be found in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.