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All addictions wreak havoc on the addicted person and on everyone who is close to them. The physical toll is often obvious. People lose weight, become ill, and develop all manner of physical problems. Families are wracked with worry. People close to the addicted person can develop anxiety and depression. The financial toll of addiction is every bit as devastating.
While those who have suffered with addiction know all too well the cost of maintaining their dependence on a substance. The costs may be invisible to everyone else until it is too late. For many people, poverty itself is the root cause of their addiction. The need to feel some kind of escape form the relentless worry over money or even keeping a roof over your head can drive people to use drugs as an escape.
What tends to happen in drug addiction and alcohol use disorder is the financial damage becomes part of the secret of addiction itself. Those who are in the grip of addiction will hide the money they spend on drugs and alcohol from loved ones and others. Lying to oneself is a symptom of addiction and lying about the financial cost is one of the first points of dishonesty. It can be impossible for someone to admit even to themselves the vast amounts of money they spend on drugs or alcohol. Until it is no longer possible to hide the fact. When people cannot pay rent even though they seem to make more than enough money. It will eventually become clear that the money is going somewhere.
Since financial struggle is such a common source of conflict in any relationship, this already present possibility becomes compounded when addiction enters the picture. When a spouse can no longer understand why there is never enough money. He or she will have to face difficult choices.
It is estimated that about 30% of the people who live with some form of substance abuse problem already live at or below poverty level. This means an average expenditure on substance abuse can begin at about half that person’s income. That is the average. The figure climbs depending on how long the addiction persists and the type of substance people are using. Obviously, this is insupportable.
The costs of addiction also cumulative. This means that whatever people are spending to support their addiction will inevitably increase. Addiction is characterized by a problem of diminishing returns. The more people use, the more they need to use, and this does not translate into an increase in satisfaction. As use increases, people find it less satisfying and thus use still more. The cost of all of this rises accordingly.
As people do the calculations to decide of treatment is worthwhile, it is important to try to figure in the cost of not treating an addiction. Treatment is a theoretically a finite expense. Addiction is an open-ended expense which increases without any real end. It is equally important to figure in the less tangible costs of the damage to families and relationships as a result of the horrible financial toll of addiction exacts on everyone concerned.
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