Individuals with alcohol problems find comfort in speaking to clergy

Washington, July 15 : A new study indicates that individuals find comfort in confessing their alcohol problems to the clergy.

University of Michigan Health System and Saint Louis University researchers also found that majority of those who used services from clergy also used professional services at some point.

The study revealed that clergy services are an important part of the overall system of care for persons with alcohol problems.

"This may in part reflect the fact that individuals who meet criteria for alcohol abuse by definition have experienced legal, occupational, and/or social problems due to their alcohol consumption, and may be more likely to enter treatment through the legal system, employee assistance programs, or social services," says lead author Amy Bohnert, Ph. D., M. H. S., assistant professor of psychiatry at the U-M Medical School and research investigator in the Department of Veterans' Affairs National Serious Mental Illness Treatment Resource and Evaluation Center.

"Clergy are in a unique position to notice changes in behavior over time," says Brian Perron, assistant professor of social work at U-M.

"Clergy are often seen as being deeply committed to their congregants and willing to honor desires for confidentiality," he added.

The study is published in The American Journal on Addictions. (ANI)