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Alcoholism and Your Wallet: The Financial Cost of Addiction to Alcohol

Cost of alcohol

Alcohol addiction, or alcoholism, isn’t just a personal struggle—it’s a significant financial burden. Beyond the toll it takes on health and relationships, alcohol addiction can severely impact your financial stability. Below, we’ll explore the various financial costs associated with alcohol addiction, the hidden expenses that come with excessive alcohol use, and how investing in addiction treatment can lead to a healthier, more financially secure future.

The Cost of Alcohol

Alcohol is expensive. Even if you opt for the cheapest options, the cost adds up quickly. For example, a six-pack of budget beer might cost around $5. If a person with an alcohol addiction drinks one six-pack a day, that amounts to approximately $150 per month and $1,800 per year. As the addiction progresses, the amount consumed typically increases, leading to even higher expenses. More frequent trips to the liquor store, buying higher quantities, and potentially opting for more expensive types of alcohol can significantly inflate these costs.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that excessive alcohol use cost the U.S. economy $249 billion in 2010, which breaks down to about $2.05 per drink.1 In California, alcohol cost $35 billion, or about $2.44 per drink.2 These costs include losses in workplace productivity, healthcare expenses, law enforcement and other criminal justice costs, and motor vehicle crash costs.

The Hidden Costs of Alcohol Use

Beyond the direct cost of purchasing alcohol, there are numerous hidden expenses associated with alcohol addiction.

Employment and Income

Alcohol addiction can make it difficult to maintain steady employment. Frequent absenteeism, decreased productivity, and poor job performance are common among those struggling with addiction. This can lead to job loss or difficulty securing employment, resulting in a significant loss of income. The CDC estimates that loss of workplace productivity accounts for 72% of the economic cost of alcohol use.1

Medical Bills

Excessive alcohol consumption leads to numerous health problems, including liver disease, heart problems, and mental health issues. These health issues often require medical treatment, which can be incredibly expensive for individuals and their families. The CDC estimates that healthcare costs related to excessive alcohol consumption account for about 11% of the economic impact in the United States.1

Legal Issues

Alcohol addiction can also lead to legal problems. Driving under the influence (DUI) charges, public intoxication, and other alcohol-related offenses can result in hefty fines, legal fees, and increased insurance premiums. The financial repercussions of a DUI can be devastating, often amounting to several thousand dollars.

Various Repair Costs

Those who live with alcohol addiction every day know well how impaired function is like a quiet storm leaving a trail of destruction. In addition to things like vehicle repair costs from drunk driving, dozens of small incidents add to the financial burden. Leaving the iron on face-down, dropping glasses, punching walls, falling into shelves, and spilling containers of food each contribute to repair costs or financial losses. These mishaps, even minor ones, add up over time.

Other Hidden Costs

Alcohol addiction can affect judgment and decision-making, leading to poor financial choices, such as overspending, accruing debt, and damaging property. Alcohol addiction often causes problems in relationships potentially leading to divorce and child custody battles, which can be financially draining.

It’s important to acknowledge that the costs of alcohol addiction aren’t always financial. Addiction can cost people their families, friends, self-esteem, and even their lives. The emotional and social toll of addiction is profound and far-reaching.

Cost of addiction treatment

The Cost of Addiction Treatment

Many people avoid seeking help for alcohol addiction because they believe they can’t afford it. However, the money spent on alcohol and the related costs could be redirected towards treatment, making it more affordable in the long run. Investing in treatment not only improves health and quality of life but also offers significant financial benefits.

The cost of addiction treatment varies depending on the type and duration of the program. Outpatient programs are typically less expensive than inpatient programs.

Treatment costs for 30 days of treatment range from:

  • $1,400 to $10,000 for outpatient treatment (average $5,700)
  • $5,000 to $20,000 for inpatient treatment (average $12,500)3

While these costs may seem high at first, they are often less than the cumulative expenses of continued alcohol use. Many treatment centers offer sliding scale fees or financing options to make treatment more accessible. Insurance may cover some or all of the costs, reducing the financial burden.

Seeking treatment also has a variety of financial benefits that outweigh the cost, such as:

  • Substantial long-term savings from money that would previously have been spent on alcohol
  • Greater likelihood of steady employment, reducing the financial strain caused by job loss or decreased productivity
  • Fewer medical expenses from alcoholism-related issues
  • Lower risk of legal issues like DUIs, accidents, etc.

Investing in treatment also has economic benefits for the US as a whole. According to research, for every dollar spent on addiction treatment, there is an estimated return of $4 to $7 in reduced drug-related crime, criminal justice costs, and theft.4

Find Affordable, Effective Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Lumina Recovery

At Lumina Recovery, we understand that the cost of alcohol addiction treatment can be a significant barrier. We work with individuals to explore financing options, including insurance coverage and payment plans, to make treatment accessible. Our goal is to help you achieve a healthier, more financially stable future.

Contact us today to discuss your needs and explore how we can help you finance your treatment in a way that works for you. By investing in your recovery, you can achieve a healthier, more fulfilling life free from the financial and personal burdens of alcohol addiction. It not only saves money in the long run but also provides the priceless benefit of improved quality of life and overall well-being.



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