Cost of Addictions

May 14, 2018 | Addictions, Alcohol

Cost of Addictions

If left untreated, the destructive effects of drug or alcohol addictions eventually damage every aspect of the addict’s life. Addictions consume the addict’s existence. Responsibilities and moral standards fall by the wayside. The repercussions of addictions reverberate throughout the social, familial and vocational areas of the addict’s life, with disastrous consequences.


Excessive Consumption Costs

Excessive consumption cost the United States $223.5 billion or $1.90 per drink in 2006. Excessive alcohol consumption kills about 88000 people in the US each year and three-quarters of these costs were due to binge drinking. Researchers have shown that the cost of excessive drinking causes dangerous behaviors and has many aspects on the drinker’s life and on the lives of those around them. The costs include workplace productive, healthcare expenses, law enforcement and criminal justice expenses and motor vehicle crashes from impaired driving.

A study by Cornell University showed that heavy drinking (6 times in a month) will reduce your change of landing a job as a new college grad by 10%. Moderate drinking does not have employment implications but binge drinking more than 6 times in a month will reduce your chance of landing a new grad position by 10%. Your first job will define your career and being set back on your first job can set your career back by up to 10 years.

Effect on Family Relationships

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), addiction often causes heartache and hardship for family members, and its effects can sometimes be passed down through generations. For example:

  • Substance-abusing parents serve as negative role models to children, who grow up with no positive examples upon which to base their own eventual parenting skills.
  • Spouses and children of addicts are more often the victims of domestic abuse.
  • Financial hardships can also impact the family, caused by the addict’s need to buy drugs, as well as from his inability to find consistent employment.

The family of an addict often exists under a veil of denial. They struggle to present a positive public image, while secretly living in shame and fear.

The effects of substance abuse frequently extends beyond the immediate family and extended family members may experience feelings of abandonment, anxiety, fear, anger or embarrassment so they may wish to ignore or cut ties completely with the person abusing substances. People who abuse substances are likely to find themselves increasingly isolated from their families and prefer to associate with others who also abuse substances or participate in some other form of antisocial activity.

Effect on Peer Relationships

Addiction often causes the addict’s disapproving friends to distance themselves. Alternately, the addict may abandon non-addicted friends in favor of those who share and endorse their addictive habits.

In the company of other addicts, drug use begins to seem normal. Addicts will often neglect their family duties to share the company of those who won’t interfere with their drug use. The stability of these addictive friendships is tenuous. The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that within groups of alcohol-abusing friends, incidents of violent crimes are disproportionately high.

Effect on Professional Relationships

According to SAMHSA, addiction damages work relationships, in that co-workers are often forced to cover up for the addict’s failure to share the workload. This causes resentment of the addict in the workplace.

Addicts are absent from work more often. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, lost work productivity due to drug use cost the United States over $128 billion in 2002 alone.

The effects of addiction in the workplace often lead to termination of the addict’s employment. Unemployment may drive the addict even deeper into self-destructive behaviors, further destroying their chances at finding employment, as the vicious cycle of addiction continues. Coworkers believe a person that abuses substances is often unreliable.

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