The Hidden Costs of Addiction

Addiction is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “the need or strong desire to do or to have something, or a very strong liking for something.” In other words, addiction goes against Aristotle’s teaching of everything in moderation. Aristotle realized excess of any kind can be a bad thing.

Some addictions are rather innocent while others are extremely serious. However, any addiction that affects your quality of life is one that should be shaken. Too often people make the mistake of thinking that kicking an addiction is impossible. Others tell themselves the cost of professional help is too expensive.

But the expense of an outpatient drug treatment or a rehabilitative program is nothing compared to the short and long-term costs of addiction.

Loss of Income

When we think of the costs associated with addiction our minds tend to go first to the cost of the thing that a person is addicted to. Take cigarette smoking for example. If a person kicks the habit the money saved on cigarettes could fund a business startup.

The direct cost of an addiction is just the start. As addiction becomes the focus of a person’s life, feeding that addiction is the top priority. Sometimes work obligations and performance begin to suffer. Opioid addiction is the extreme example. Addicts have a very difficult time remaining employed, and 90 people a day die from opioid addiction in the U.S. alone. The opioid crisis is so profound experts note that it’s affecting the economy.

When an addiction affects a person’s ability to hold down a job, loss of income can quickly cause a spiral downward.

Adverse Health Effects

Many addictions can also take a toll on the body. Injuries and illness are expensive to treat even with insurance. Here again, there are direct costs and indirect costs.

The direct costs would be the:

·  Medical treatment

·  Medications

·  Medical devices

·  Travel to see doctors

The side effects can be so severe working is difficult and limits job opportunities. Health problems can impact quality of life as well. Both of those factors add to the cost of some addictions.

Legal Expenses

An unfortunate side effect of substance abuse is run-ins with the law. There are a variety of crimes that are often connected to this type of addiction, including public intoxication, driving under the influence and theft. Substance abuse also increases risky behavior due to loss of judgment.

Every arrest comes with fines and legal fees. Repeat offenses can dramatically increase the cost of a charge. Of course, an arrest can also cause a person to miss work or lose their job.

Another hidden cost of a DUI is a suspended drivers license. After a DUI it may be possible to get a restricted license that can be used to get to work. However, a subsequent charge can lead of a complete suspension of driving rights. This could make getting to work much more difficult and increase transportation costs over the long-term.

Cost to Personal Relationships

To some, the greatest expense of addiction is the loss of close relationships. Family and friends can become isolated when the addiction becomes a person’s priority. Others either aren’t a consideration or the person purposely shuts others out to try and conceal their addiction.

The stress that’s put on loved ones also erodes relationships. In some cases it’s financial stress in others it stems from concern over the addicts well being. Nothing tears a family apart quicker than an arrest and money problems. Addicts may ask family and friends for money causing further rifts in relationships.

Professional relationships can also be affected by addiction. Co-workers that pick up the slack can become disgruntle and poor performance can reflect on managers. Burning these sorts of bridges can have financial repercussions in a person’s life and roadblocks in a career.

Addiction is a condition that can disrupt a person’s life and the lives of the people around them. If you know someone who’s suffering from addiction it’s important to make sure they get the help they need.