We’ve all seen a film or television program that follows a person as they descend into addiction. Often, they lose their jobs, money, and loved ones. However, the hidden costs of addiction goes beyond that. It also comes with other inconspicuous costs that we sometimes ignore.
Addiction can compromise one’s health and places a heavy financial burden on society. For instance, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calculates that the annual economic cost of substance abuse is a staggering $249 billion. We can only presume that things will worsen over the next few years.
This article examines the whole range of the toll that substance abuse takes on the economy, society, and our relationships with the people around us. It highlights all the consequences that it exhausts, both evident and hidden. Read on to learn more about the various solutions to the issue.
Economic Costs of Addiction
Even if the immediate expenses of drug consumption seem apparent, there are still other ways that addiction may harm finances. Here are a few illustrations of the hidden costs of addiction:
The Financial Impact on Individuals
Drug abuse is expensive; let’s face it. Although this may be accepted wisdom, when a person’s dependency grows, they might only consider the immediate consequences of using drugs. However, the compounded cost becomes apparent once you face severe financial difficulties.
The physical effects of drugs impede people from going about their lives normally. When someone is preoccupied with their highs, their responsibilities—such as going to work, making ends meet, caring for their spouse and kids, and looking out for their mental health—may all fall through the cracks.
The Cost to Families
According to research, substance use disorder impacts the entire family. Each family member merits concern because they are uniquely affected by the person’s substance abuse, whether physically, psychologically, or financially.
From a financial perspective, the amount of money spent on addiction will continue to grow because the person using it constantly needs more drugs to enjoy the same thrills. As a result, they may fail to sustain themselves and their family and risk losing their employment. They might also find themselves drowning in debt and unable to cover crucial expenses like medical bills.
The Strain on Society
Substance misuse has an immense economic impact on society. It damages people’s social functioning and severely strains community life.
Furthermore, it significantly impacts our current social institutions, increasing the risk of crime, hospitalizations, domestic violence, and child neglect while swiftly exhausting the government’s scarce resources.
Societal Costs of Addiction
When one or both partners struggle with substance addiction, the resilience of personal and romantic bonds is genuinely challenged. Therefore, you must sacrifice one for the other. There are no relationships that are capable of navigating the spheres of addiction and abuse. It doesn’t work that way.
Effects on Relationships
One of the consequences of addiction is its impact on friendships and family ties. Any relationship dealing with substance misuse and addiction will suffer tremendously.
Addiction hurts not just the addict but also the people they hold dear in their lives. When either partner or both prioritize their next fix rather than reaffirming the connection, hurt feelings may develop in a relationship. Over time, this can cause happiness to wane and end in relationship breakdowns. And this is valid across all types of relationships, not just romantic ones.
Impact on Communities
Drug addiction harms communities as well. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug abuse costs the U.S. more than $740 billion annually in health care, wasted productivity, and crime. Abuse of illegal narcotics accounts for $193 billion of that total, and abuse of prescription opioids accounts for another $78.5 billion.
The impact is vast and alarming. A town has to shell out for additional police officers or hire more prison workers when there are more significant drug abuse offenses. It could also indicate an unjustified increase in unemployment since those capable of working instead opted to dwell on their brief and fleeting highs.
The Social Consequences
Often, people who battle addiction are stigmatized and avoided by society. They are assessed on the grounds that they are only harming themselves and that their addiction is a problem of their own doing. One of the unpleasant effects of addiction is this. People now start to feel scorned by society, neglected by their families, and unequal to their peers.
We must acknowledge that this is merely a limited perspective on a significant social issue that demands our attention and awareness.
Health Costs of Addiction
Drug usage can devour an individual and devastate their life. Overdose and death are at the extremes, yet there is always a risk of both when using or abusing substances. The following are some health hazards to look out for caused by prolonged and excessive drug usage.
Physical Health Risks
Physically, the following are among the most considered:
- High blood pressure and a rapid heart rate
- Loss of appetite
- Insomnia and erratic sleeping habits
- Organ and gastrointestinal damage
- Cardiovascular and respiratory conditions
Mental Health Risks
Additionally, there are psychological and emotional expenses. Drug abuse can lead to:
- Depression and anxiety
- Mood swings and irritability
- The inability to think clearly and make sound decisions
- Delusions or hallucinations
- Aggression or violent inclination
A Closer Look at the Impact on Families
The consequences of addiction on families are among the most distressing and heartbreaking. Since our families were the first individuals to nurture us, everything in our lives and whatever kind of person we grow and become have their origins in our homes. Family is the foundation of society.
Abuse of drugs and alcohol can place a burden on happy, nurturing homes, causing them to become estranged. For instance, disagreements among family members over how to interact with a child abusing heroin became typical. Secrecy and extreme privacy may become the norm as trust continues to crumble. Children grow aggressive, spouses are frustrated, and parents argue. Everything ends up going downhill.
It is also important to keep in mind that adolescents and children who are raised in homes where addiction runs in the family are more likely to develop a dependency on a certain substance in the future.
How to Address the Problem
Substance use and addiction consequences hurt the addict and his family members, who want nothing but to see him recover. Reestablishing ties, talking openly and frequently about the hazards, setting up clear ground rules, and learning to say “no” are all crucial. Remember that everything begins at home.
Additionally, prevention in the community is a vital aspect of managing and addressing substance use disorders and the hidden costs that come with it. Empowering the community and propagating awareness that drug and alcohol addiction can be treated are also crucial.
Taking A Step Back to Move Forward
Substance use disorders and addiction cost more than it is worth. In fact, it’s not even worth a dime. The unmistakable reality is that there is far more to it than meets the eye.
Addiction harms the economy, impairs our personal lives, and damages our connections with our loved ones. It causes massive financial waste and lost production while raising unemployment and crime rates globally. More crucially, becoming hooked on substances obstructs your path to a healthy and balanced life.
A fresh start is yet possible. You’re not fighting this battle alone, and a fruitful recovery is not out of the question. The secret is finding a rehab center that emphasizes tailored, comprehensive care that prepares one for life after recovery. Numerous drug and alcohol addiction treatment facilities have proven successful in helping people conquer their addiction.
Let’s support one another. Healing and recovery are a lot more fulfilling when you have the people you love and support by your side. Here at Pacific Crest Trail Detox, we join you on your quest to a healthier today and a brighter tomorrow.