The Real Cost of Addiction

Content Medically Reviewed by:

Dr. Patricia Sullivan, MD MPH

Addiction is blind. As a disease, it does not care about your income, race, religion, or gender. Whether someone uses illicit drugs or takes medication as prescribed, developing an addiction is possible. Moreover, no one is exempt from the effects addiction can cause Families and friends all become impacted by a loved one’s addiction. Substance Use Disorders and addiction come with massive costs, not all of which are financial. The cost of addiction runs deeper than an empty wallet. 

If you or someone you know has had enough of addiction taking from their lives, please let us be a lifeline. Consider calling an addiction specialist at 1-888-906-0952 to begin taking back control of your life through addiction treatment. We would be honored to show you the compassion you deserve, with experts in treatment to bring you closer to the life you want to lead. 

Addiction can lead to death, permanent damage, poor health, and relationship dysfunction. Additionally, the financial cost of addiction might be more considerable than people realize. National alcohol and cigarette sales alone accumulate enough revenue to provide 28 million dollar a day, just for advertising. In total, the United States spends over 532 billion dollars a year on tobacco, alcohol, and traceable drugs. Some people may feel that a substance that’s legal is safe, but an addiction to legal substances can still be fatal.  

The Cost of Life

It comes as no surprise to hear that addiction can be fatal. Drugs or alcohol of any kind cause damage to the body; addiction to any substance will eventually cause the body to fail. Though everyone reacts differently, all bodies have a limit on the amount of strain they can handle. Eventually, bodily exhaustion and vital organ dysfunction begin to take their toll. 

A study conducted in 2018 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that over 65,000 people died from a drug overdose in that same year. Additionally, the CDC has declared alcoholism to be the number one avoidable cause of death in the United States. 

It is important to remember that even though these statistics are high, the calculations used in these studies can only account for the reported number of deaths. There are countless drug or alcohol-related deaths that occur outside of medical or law enforcement scopes. 

Furthermore, the opioid epidemic prevalent in America recruits more addicts every day. This makes treatment and recovery a vital part of healing our nation.  

If you want help with addiction, call us today.

The Scars of Addiction

For some people, living with addiction is harder than dying from it. The cognitive deconstruction caused by addiction can lead many people to do things they regret. People experience different reactions to drugs, opening a spectrum of potentially extreme physical, psychological, and emotional responses. 

Despite the injustices that addiction can inflict on others, it is the addict who will bear the scars of their transgressions. Emotional scarring and regret tend to linger, serving as a reminder that no one asked for. 

Addiction can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Rehabilitation can heal the body but healing the broken hearts of loved ones is something detox cannot fix. The emotional scars of addiction are on the invoice when paying the truecost of addiction. 

Societal Judgment 

Society tends to judge people based on biased opinions. Addicts are often unjustly labeled as “dirty” due to social stigmas about addiction. Some people may not care what others think of them; however, society tends to treat people they deem as untrustworthy with contempt. 

Homeless people and addiction often correlate, especially because society tends to make quick judgments based on appearanceAddiction sufferers are often met with a cold shoulder when interacting with community members.  This level of labeling is unfair, like judging a book by its cover, but ultimately the social cost of drug abuse is biased societal rejection. 

Don’t let the cost outweigh the benefits of getting sober.  Call us today.

Social Circles Can Break

Despite society’s judgment, it is the people inside an addict’s inner circle whose opinion can hurt the most. Friends and family members can lose faith in an addict’s ability to do what they say they’re going to do. 

Skepticism can lead loved ones to wonder, “Did he actually go to the store, like he said he did?” or, “Is she really working late?”  

Loss of trustworthiness among the people addicts cherish is a devastating loss. Addiction can drive people to cheat, lie, and steal, even if that is abnormal to their character. When addiction takes control over someone, it teaches the brain how to get what it wants, regardless of who it hurts in the process. 

This tunnel-vision mentality from loved ones can hurt, leading an addict to question their ability to accomplish tasks, be reliable, or tell the truth. The social cost of drug abuse can leave your circle empty, and the silence will be deafening. 

Losing Relationships

The Mills Brothers said it best, “You always hurt the one you love.” 

As a disease, addiction can make someone use their intimate knowledge against their significant other. Addicts frequently use manipulation to get what they want and avoid what they don’t. Additionally, if the addiction causes violence, their significant other is typically the first to feel the backlash. 

Loved ones often make exceptions or compromises for addicts in order to keep their relationship intact. However, even the best intentions can be poisoned by enabling an addict to continue their substance abuse. An addict’s pleas toward their significant other make it difficult to decline their request. 

Conversely, others believe they can force their addicted loved one to quit, harming both the addict’s health and their relationship. Attempting to control an addict’s treatment is dangerous to both parties and can cause more harm than good. 

It is important to remember that an addict’s behaviors are symptoms of a disease and not a direct reflection of their character. However, enabling an addict to continue their substance abuse does not help them recover, nor does it save the relationship. 


The Cost That Children Pay 

When addiction takes hold of a parent, their children can experience mixed signals, confusing situations, and a stressful environment. Whether the child is in a two-parent home or lives with a single parent, absenteeism is inevitable with addiction.  Additionally, if substances are stashed within the house, access to drugs increases the risk of accidental overdose among children. 

Parents indulging in a substance in front of their children increase the chances of their children following suit. For instance, an alcoholic parent who often drinks in front of their children is likely to see their children turn to alcohol in the future. The cost of addiction is witnessing their children potentially becoming substance abusers, too. 

Children learn behaviors from their parents. If a parent is suffering from addiction, adverse reactions to situations are soaked up like a sponge. Depending on the severity of the parent’s addiction, some childhood traumas can occur that cannot be taken back. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can cause cognitive developmental issues that follow them into adulthood. 

Loss Versus Gain 

The financial cost of addiction can rack up hefty bill. Despite insurance companies providing federally mandated addiction treatment coverage, each state can write the rules on how much treatment is covered. Some states will cover a certain number of visits, whereas others might only cover specific programs. Limited coverage often results in paying for treatment out-of-pocket, which can add up quickly. 

Rehabilitation services generally offer 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day programs. The longer the program length, the more expensive treatment will become. The cost of addiction recovery varies depending on how intense the addiction is and how long an addict needs to achieve sobriety. 

Conversely, it is essential to remember that addiction treatment facilities can work with most budgets, offering payment plans for treatment. However, that is a bill that will still eventually require payment. 

In Debt to Substance Use 

Though some people allow themselves to be deterred from treatment because of finances, they often forget how much money has already been spent on their substance use. Addiction casts a shadow over budgeting, blocking out the expense addicts do not want to see. 

If someone struggling with addiction sat down to calculate how much money was really being spent on drugs or alcohol, they would likely find a shocking number. Addiction steals time, money, and countless other assets from a person’s life. What more will someone allow addiction to take away from them? 

Their job? 

Their house? 

Their life? 

People who struggle with addiction have already sacrificed enough. Some people may be worried about the price tag of treatment, but what does that compare to forcing loved ones to pay for a funeral? 

There are many losses due to addiction. But if you have not lost your job yet, for example, you’d be surprised to know that you can go to treatment and keep your job if you meet the following criteria.

Like any other disease, addiction requires professional medical treatment to overcome. Over the years of addiction, the cost of substance abuse outweighs the cost of treatment. Addiction treatment invests in saving lives, whereas substances invest in destroying them. 

Moving Forward 

Addiction can take so much away from someone, piece by piece. As a disease, addiction does not care where you come from or where you have been, only what you can feed it. 

Suffering from addiction can cause emotional scarring, regret, and can hurt loved ones along the way. The financial cost of addiction is heavy but is second to the real cost of addiction. 

The United States is hurt worse by the opioid epidemic every day. People all across the country are impacted by this drug crisis, whether they suffer from addiction or not. The social stigmas against addiction cause some people to feel too ashamed to admit they need helpAddiction treatment and recovery are possible, despite the prevalent epidemic.   

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction and have had enough of this disease taking control of their life, please call us. Drugs and alcohol can take away everything a person holds dear and still ask them to sacrifice more. The real cost of addiction is more than just an empty wallet.  It will be an empty house, an empty life, or fill an empty casket. 

So, what are you willing to pay for? 

About the Author 


Annalise Baare

Annalise was born in Nebraska but has spent most of her life in Arizona. She is a content writer for A Better Today Recovery Services and believes in second chances and compassion for all, no matter the circumstances. She believes it is never too late to practice self-care and heal from old wounds.

Want to break free from addiction? Call us today!