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How Addiction Can Wreck Your Finances

Addiction can do pervasive damage to your life. People seeking help for addiction typically cite relationship damage, career damage, and the need for more life stability as their reasons for entering treatment. And these are all important things that fall victim to addiction, but what often underlies them is the financial damage. Not being able to pay the bills, borrowing or stealing money, or not pulling your weight at work are all problems caused by addiction that affect other people.

A recent study by TruLink, a financial services firm, gives some indication of the scope of financial damage addiction can cause. TruLink surveyed 149 friends and family members of people struggling with substance use disorders and asked them about the financial costs of their loved ones’ addictions.

  • 82% said their loved ones experienced financial problems as a result of addiction.
  • 65% of friends and relatives said their addicted loved one borrowed money or asked to borrow money from them.
  • 48% said their addicted loved one depleted his or her savings, and 11% said their addicted loved one had to file for bankruptcy. As bad as that is, it shouldn’t be too surprising as an addiction to cocaine or heroin can easily cost more than 10,000 dollars a year.

Unfortunately, these financial problems don’t end with recovery.

People in recovery can react to sobriety in unexpected ways. For example, it’s common for people to develop a replacement addiction, often in an attempt to fill the void that was once occupied by a substance. From a medical perspective, depression, anhedonia, and lack of motivation often result from the low levels of dopamine typical early in recovery. A new addictive behavior can temporarily boost those dopamine levels and relieve the low mood. (It’s also the reason that people in recovery from alcoholism often crave sugar.) This dopamine boost can fill not only a chemical void but a sense of emotional or spiritual emptiness, as well. From a financial perspective, shopping and gambling are troubling replacement addictions that provide a quick and costly fix. Both can put you back in financial trouble faster than you can get out.

In recovery, it’s essential to sit down and make a plan to get back on track financially as quickly as possible.

If you have a spouse who is beginning to recover from a substance use problem, keep an eye on the bank account and credit cards. Unexplained expenses are often a sign of a problem. For some people, it may be a good idea to insulate yourself from possible financial liabilities by keeping savings or other accounts separate, so there’s money to pay the bills even if the addicted person makes unwise purchases. Repairing relationships often means repairing finances, since financial problems are one of the most common sources of relationship problems. By quickly engaging in the work of recovery, it is possible to overcome these challenges, make financial amends were necessary, and move toward a fiscally healthy, fulfilling life.

Origins Behavioral Healthcare is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance abuse, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety.

For information on our programs,
call us today: 561-841-1296.

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If you or someone you love has a substance use or mental health disorder, Origins Behavioral HealthCare can help. We will work alongside you to provide the most comprehensive treatment available.