Alcohol has been used throughout known history and has been both beneficial to man and caused him considerable harm. The bad effects of alcohol that can be seen clearly in alcoholism, which causes damage and many side effects such as expenses for treatment, loss of income due to illness or absence from work. This study aims to study the treatment costs of alcoholism, which include direct costs and indirect costs. Thanyarak Hospital is the case study; the data on alcoholism were obtained from a sample group of 98 cases of the year 1998 of out-patients and inpatients. Simple random sampling is the technique used to study the costs in this case. The sample group of alcoholics was mostly male, between the aged of 30 and 49 years. The majority of patients were poorly educated. Laborers or self-hire laborers are the largest group following the unemployed. Education levels and occupations relate to average monthly incomes, therefore the majority of patients had monthly incomes of not more than 4,000 baht or no income. In addition, the study also found that most patients were from Bangkok and from the Central Region because the hospital is located there. The treatment costs of alcoholism consist of 1) direct costs namely; hospital and patient costs, 2) indirect costs are the costs to relatives. The hospital costs are health care resources that were consumed or utilized by the program or the treatment process such as the building, medical equipment, personnel concerned. Alcoholic in-patients used more health care resources than out-patients since hospital costs of in-patients were more than that of out-patients by approximately 45 times. The patient costs are costs attributed to the expenses of patients including the value of their time. In-patients also had greater travel fares and loss of time from work while participating in the
treatment process than out-patients by about 5 times. And the relatives costs are income or benefits foregone by relatives due to participation in the treatment process, as out-patient's relatives lost income or benefits more than in-patient's relatives by 1.8 times. The statistical data of Thanyarak Hospital shows that the numbers of alcoholic in 1998 were 450 in-patients and 135 out-patients. These numbers indicate that the 1998 total treatment costs of alcoholic patients of the hospital was approximately 23 millions baht. Patients of the hospital came from Bangkok and Central region. In 1990, Bangkok and Central region shared approximately 20 percent of the total number of alcohol drinkers in Thailand. Therefore, the 1998 treatment costs of the whole country could be as much as 115 million baht.