Make Mission Impossible Feasible: The Experience of a Multidisciplinary Team Providing Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder to Homeless Individuals [2020]

People experiencing homelessness are often excluded from treatment programs for alcohol use disorder (AUD). The goal of this study was to describe the impact of a multidisciplinary treatment program on alcohol consumption and social reintegration in individuals with AUD experiencing homelessness.

Thirty-one individuals with AUD experiencing homelessness were admitted to an inpatient unit for 5–6 days for clinical evaluation and to treat potential alcohol withdrawal syndrome. A group of volunteers, in collaboration with the Community of Sant’Egidio, provided social support aimed to reintegrate patients. After inpatient discharge, all patients were followed as outpatients. Alcohol intake (number drinks/day), craving and clinical evaluation were assessed at each outpatient visit. Biological markers of alcohol use were evaluated at enrollment (T0), at 6 months (T1) and 12 months (T2).

Compared with T0, patients at T1 showed a significant reduction in alcohol consumption [10 (3–24) vs 2 (0–10); P = 0.015] and in γ-glutamyl-transpeptidase [187 (78–365) vs 98 (74–254); P = 0.0021]. The reduction in alcohol intake was more pronounced in patients with any housing condition [10 (3–20) vs 1 (0–8); P = 0.008]. Similarly, compared with T0, patients at T2 showed significant reduction in alcohol consumption [10 (3–24) vs 0 (0–15); P = 0.001], more pronounced in patients with any housing condition [10 (3–20) vs 0 (0–2); P = 0.006]. Moreover, at T2 patients showed a significant reduction in γ-glutamyl-transpeptidase [187 (78–365) vs 97 (74–189); P = 0.002] and in mean cell volume [100.2 (95–103.6) vs 98.3 (95–102); P = 0.042].

Patients experiencing homelessness may benefit from a multidisciplinary treatment program for AUD. Strategies able to facilitate and support their social reintegration and housing can improve treatment outcomes.

Tommaso Dionisi, Carolina Mosoni, Giovanna Di Sario, Claudia Tarli, Mariangela Antonelli, Luisa Sestito, Stefano D’Addio, Alberto Tosoni, Daniele Ferrarese, Giovanna Iasilli, Gabriele A Vassallo, Antonio Mirijello, Leonardo Emberti Gialloreti, Daniela Di Giuda, Antonio Gasbarrini, Giovanni Addolorato
Alcohol and Alcoholism, Volume 55, Issue 5, September 2020