According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol abuse in the U.S. rose to almost a quarter trillion dollars in 2010. This cost amounts to an average of $2.05 per drink or about $807 per person. Since alcohol abuse has nearly doubled, the cost of alcohol problems has increased severely. In the same light, alcohol has also become more accessible in many states, meaning national consumers are spending more money on alcohol.
At GateHouse Treatment, we are sympathetic to the financial strain that alcohol abuse can put on you and your family. This guide will discuss how much alcohol abuse affects your bottom line.
1. How Can Alcohol Abuse Destroy Your Finances and Mental Health
Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows brain function. It also has the nasty effect of producing hangovers, which are caused by compounds that change blood levels in hormones and dehydrate the body. Alcoholism is a very time-intensive condition because it diminishes performance both the day you drink and the day after. It’s not atypical to feel horrendous the day after drinking and have to sleep it off. Add to this the cumulative effects of continuous hangovers, and suddenly, your energy, mental clarity, and ability to leave home diminish.
A key trait of alcoholism is neglecting responsibility. Having to nurse a hangover completely changes your day and what you can accomplish with the time given. Missed appointments, calling out sick from work, needing to sleep in, and repeated slacking. These can all put your livelihood in danger and, as a result, your financial well-being.
Here is one cycle to keep in mind: When you can’t afford “something,” you stress about it. You might struggle with regular expenditures, like groceries or something you need last minute but have not budgeted. You reach out to alcohol to manage the mental burden. But now, you are down more money and further from the purchases you need to make.
Due to the desire to escape the depression and anxiety that most alcoholics experience, binge drinking has a self-fulfilling dynamic. In other words, the more you give in to your addiction, the more money you lose, which causes you to consume more alcohol. This cycle of alcohol abuse is highly unproductive, as it mires you in a situation that encourages dependence at the cost of genuine needs.
Alcohol also lowers your inhibitions and worsens your decision-making abilities, which are necessary for the deft handling of personal finances. When drinking, there’s a high likelihood you are spending more than just alcohol. Ethanol stimulates the same neurons in the brain that control hunger responses when nearing starvation. You will spend on take-out and delivery you didn’t need. You might spend on risky behaviors you wouldn’t engage in when sober, such as buying a pack of cigarettes. The following day you will need more food and fluids to recover. Alcohol abuse can cause unfortunate spending sprees that significantly dent your wallet.
2. Alcohol Abuse Impact Your Credit Score
Individuals suffering from alcohol abuse can struggle to make ends meet. The loss of productivity and drive after repeated benders can spiral, causing significant problems that impact your financial security for years. If you have college loans, one missed payment can set you back 100 credit points or more. You may find yourself behind on several payments or choosing what you can pay each month to make room for your addiction. As a result, your credit score will instantly drop. Even worse, this mistake will haunt you for years in your credit report.
Substance abusers tend to exceed their credit limit. Eventually, this causes alcoholics to go over 50% of their credit utilization. Consequently, you will have difficulty financing a new car, buying a house, or taking out business loans. A financial ditch can open before you realize it, depriving you of the necessary resources to climb out. Every alcohol purchase is money that would be better spent on a more joyful future that doesn’t revolve around liquor stores.
3. The Cost of Insurance Due to Alcohol Abuse
The many health problems you can have because of alcohol abuse also affect your finances. Insurance becomes more expensive, leading to working off days at work. Some of these health problems that alcohol abuse causes are:
- Anemia: Malnutrition limits the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. It causes fatigue, shortness of breath, and lightheadedness.
- Cardiovascular Illness: Heavy drinking increases the risk of heart attacks or strokes
- Dementia: Large amounts of alcohol can cause memory loss and debilitate deficits in the ability to perform daily activities.
- Cirrhosis: Excessive amounts of alcohol prevent the liver from functioning correctly. This can cause early death.
- Cancer: Habitually drinking increases the risks of mouth, throat, colon, rectum, esophagus, and breast cancer.
- Seizures: Extreme alcohol consumption can cause epilepsy.
- High Blood pressure: drinking can disrupt the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the constriction and dilation of blood vessels in response to stress, temperature, and exertion.
How to Limit Substance Abuse Alcohol Consumption
Who said the fun had to stop just because you’re cutting back on drinking? As we all know, there’s no greater power than gaining power over yourself; happiness starts from within. If you’re serious about saving some serious money, try these tactics:
- Explore fun things to do while sober in your local area
- Set a healthy living budget for you and your family
- Establish weekly goals
- Practice accountability with your spouse
- Start investing in things that add value to your life
- Abstain from Alcohol
- Reward yourself for curbing the consumption of alcohol with things you need or want
GateHouse Treatment and Alcohol Abuse
If you or your loved one struggles with alcohol abuse and is drawing nearer to financial collapse, it’s time to get help. GateHouse Treatment offers compassionate, expert care to fight the dangers of alcohol abuse in your life. We have sober homes, partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient treatment, and other innovative therapy forms that address the condition and overall wellness.
Take the first step toward sobriety and contact us through our website or call 855-448-3588. We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are ready to assist in your goal of becoming a healthier, better you.
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