The High Cost of Drug Addiction



The High Cost of Drug Addiction

When people say "addiction will cost you everything," it rings true, literally and figuratively. Illicit street drugs are expensive, despite how cheaply many of them are to produce. People who struggle with substance use disorder are usually aware of the hundreds of dollars they spend a day to maintain their needs, but these highly addictive drugs have rewired their brains to prioritize use despite detrimental factors. This sometimes leads to users borrowing money from friends and family or resorting to illegal acts such as theft and other crimes to obtain the drugs they need.

Beyond monetary cost, addiction comes with other trade-offs that some would consider invaluable, like the trust and support of loved ones and much more. Examining the high price of addiction not only provides a cautionary tale but also gives insight into the disease of addiction and how far it will push people unless they get help.


Recreational Drug Use vs. Drug Addiction

Recreational drug use is prevalent worldwide, making the illicit drug trade more profitable than ever. For those who regularly consume drugs without falling into addiction, it comes at a premium, as they often seek out substances considered "high end" compared to most street drugs. Despite the threat of developing substance use disorder from misusing highly addictive drugs, occasional users manage to finance their supply through steady employment and other factors, but that's not the case for everyone.


  • Physiological Cost: Addiction changes the brain's reward pathway, changing a person's motives and personality. The flood of dopamine people with substance use disorder experience once they've ingested their drug of choice continues to strengthen a process called downregulation, making addiction so much more challenging to treat without professional help.


  • Emotional Cost: Drug misuse can cause people to become emotionally volatile because the affected reward pathway in the brain has been compromised. Moods may change day to day, resulting in a general sense of apathy unless acquiring or consuming drugs is in question. This can lead to the destruction of intrapersonal relationships with loved ones and behaviors that would be otherwise considered out of the ordinary.


  • Physical Cost: Consistent and regular substance misuse is known to lead to an amalgam of physical health problems that affect the body. Combined with poor nutrition, hygiene, and sleep habits, those struggling with drug addiction are at heightened risk of infection, organ failure, cardiovascular problems, and many more negative health consequences. Some issues can even lead to irreparable damage and premature death.


  • Financial Cost: When drug use becomes central to someone's life, they will often lose their job, housing, personal assets, access to their personal belongings, and much more. Without a stable place to eat and sleep, many find themselves experiencing homelessness for extended periods of time.


People who occasionally misuse substances will spend much less than those with a chemical dependency. Not only does addiction prioritize drug use despite all odds, but the agony of withdrawal drives many users to use multiple times a day once their tolerance has reached very high levels. Those who grapple with addiction often end up losing their jobs and spiral deeply into debt trying to manage their disease without medical intervention. Still, the collective "cost" of addiction to an individual is much higher than most people can imagine.


Recovery Services of New Mexico offers treatment programs to people from all walks of life who are struggling with addiction. To learn more about what RSONM outpatient clinics offer for enrolled patients, message or call the closest location today.