alcohol addiction

Personal stories of alcohol addiction could help shape future healthcare

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

A new study looks at over three decades worth of research about the recovery stories of people who previously consumed harmful levels of alcohol, with the aim of using the content to help to shape future research and healthcare provision into supporting people with alcohol addiction.

The new study, published in PLOS ONE, was led by Dr Mohsen Subhani, from the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham.

Alcohol misuse is a major public health concern. Harmful alcohol intake contributes to over two hundred medical conditions, costing the UK National Health Service (NHS) £3.5 billion per year. This emphasizes the importance of health services finding ways to support successful recovery from alcohol misuse, to minimise associated harms.

Recovery narratives are defined as personal stories of health problems and of recovery. They are often shared on platforms such as YouTube or in published autobiographies. The analysis of recovery narratives can provide insights into how recovery happens, which might help health services to develop better approaches for supporting recovery.

As part of this new study, the team of experts reviewed all published literature on alcohol recovery narratives, spanning more than three decades of research.

They found that published papers described a broad range of characteristics, including various settings in which recovery took place, and the influence of spirituality and religion on recovery.

Thirty-two studies were reviewed, which included over a thousand participants aged between 18 and 72 years of age; 52% were male and 46% were female.

Shame about alcohol misuse was a prominent theme for female narrators, lack of sense of belonging and spirituality were recurrent themes for LGBTQ+ narrators, and alienation and inequality were frequently encountered in the narratives from minority indigenous groups.

In this context, our review highlights key characteristics of alcohol recovery narratives, with implications for both research and healthcare practice. Recovery from alcohol addiction is possible both within and outside treatment settings and it is important to recognise you have problem with drinking and ask for help”.
Study Co-ordinator and Hepatology specialist Dr Mohsen Subhani

Story credits

The full study can be found here.

More information is available from Dr Mohsen Subhani from the School of Medicine at

Charlotte Anscombe - Media Relations Manager - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Phone: 0115 748 4417

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

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