The Shocking Costs of Drug and Alcohol Addiction

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It is an unfortunate fact that millions of individuals struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. Additionally, recovery statistics are often very disheartening with regard to traditional rehabilitation programs. Addiction can manifest in various ways and strictly defined, the term refers to the habitual use of alcohol, legal or illegal drugs, or other substances with little or no regard for their harmful effects on one's body or the financial repercussions that essentially always accompany such activity.

There are many reasons for substance abuse: a person may have grown up in an environment where people abused drugs or alcohol, or he or she may have experienced childhood trauma or abuse that led to the addiction cycle. However, certain individuals who are not in any risk category may find themselves dependent on certain substances and subsequently in need of professional help. Few people can conquer such problems without assistance, and many individuals struggling with addiction turn to holistic rehabilitation centers for help that other programs cannot provide.

The High Cost of Addiction

Addictions result in a slow drain on careers, interpersonal relationships, finances and eventually life itself if treatment is not sought. The total cost associated with addiction is staggering. With both alcohol and legal drugs included, these costs are believed by experts to total at least 500 billion dollars a year. In addition, the use of illegal drugs accounts for approximately 180 billion dollars in drug enforcement, crime, incarceration, health care, and loss of productivity in the lives of those who are impacted by the addiction.

Many individuals are shocked to hear of such statistics, as the cost of this activity is not something to which many people give a substantial amount of thought. However, topping the list is alcoholism, which has the costliest price tag of approximately 220 billion dollars. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 30 individuals die each day in the United States due to alcohol related accidents. Another 30,000 individuals die each year from cirrhosis of the liver and other alcohol induced diseases.

Similar to the abuse of alcohol, drug abuse eventually leads to serious illness and the potential for injury. Both disease and accidents resulting from substance abuse cause insurance costs to rise every few years in the United States and addicts themselves often eventually find that they are unable to qualify for insurance of any kind. In addition to these costs, legal problems are common among substance abusers, and the cost of such representation is often very high. Loss of earned income is almost always a monetary side effect of substance abuse as well, and this income loss will eventually impact the person's retirement.

Because substance abusers often use the bulk of their money to support their habit, bad credit scores, high interest rates and late fees are often standard parts of their lives. A poor credit history will ultimately disqualify someone for a mortgage or car loan, and such problems can be far-reaching even after treatment for the addiction is sought.

The Importance of Getting Help

The cost of seeking treatment is not very high when compared to the financial and personal losses associated with long-term addictions. Even when the most conservative estimates are used, substance abuse leads to devastating financial impact for many years in the future.

Individuals suffering from addiction must learn how to acquire a different perspective on life by learning how to focus on constructive sources of happiness and fulfillment, rather than relying on alcohol or drugs to create a false sense of joy. Following holistic treatment, many individuals, when faced with emotional pain or life events that are traumatic in nature, are able to find the inner strength that was present all along and utilize it during these challenging times. True recovery is possible for anyone who is struggling with addiction. For this reason, those battling substance abuse problems should seek help without delay.