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Addiction & Economic Status


Addiction & Economic Status

Debunking Addiction Stereotypes: Economic Status

Does economic status make a person more or less likely to become addicted to alcohol or other drugs? Are wealthy, upper class individuals immune to addiction? Are people in lower economic brackets inevitably destined for a life of ongoing substance abuse? In this post, we’ll explore the link – if any – between economic status and a person’s propensity to addiction.

Addiction Doesn’t Care About Your Bank Account

Drug and alcohol addiction affects people from all walks of life, from the homeless living on the streets, to the high-powered executives working on Wall Street.

While no socioeconomic class is immune to addiction, this doesn’t mean it affects all classes equally. In fact, research shows that substance abuse is more prevalent among individuals of a lower economic status. So, what’s going on here? Does this mean wealth, or the lack thereof, causes addiction? Not so fast.

Correlation is Not Causation

The truth is, addiction and wealth are not directly linked at all. To understand the connection, we have to consider the real-world consequences of poverty and privilege. For example, families of limited financial means may not have access to quality education or healthcare services. Unable to afford the care they need, people in this environment could be more likely to remain undiagnosed and to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.

On the other end of the spectrum, wealthy families typically have ample access to professional medical care. Their children also usually attend better schools and stay in school longer. Both of these environmental factors could be correlated with a decreased risk of substance abuse and addiction.

However, financial access to resources like these does not preclude wealthy families from addiction. According to at least one study , affluent children could be even more likely to use drugs. This further supports the idea that the presence (or absence) of wealth alone is insufficient in predicting addiction within any given family.

Affluence and Addiction

Within some affluent communities, families may feel strong pressure to portray an image of absolute perfection. Even when the signs of addiction are obvious, families might choose to deny the problem exists instead of seeking the help they need. Unfortunately, this is only a short-term solution. There could eventually come a time when maintaining appearances is impossible.

Another reason affluent families may put off seeking professional addiction treatment is simply because they can afford to pay for the negative consequences of addiction. Multiple DUIs, court costs, property damage, insurance hikes – for some families, money can fix all of these problems, making rehab seem like a second-, third- or even forth-rate option.

Addiction Affects Us All

Drug and alcohol addiction is a human problem, not a class problem. At The Raleigh House, we are dedicated to doing everything we can to help people from all walks of life find hope, find health and find long-lasting recovery from addiction. To learn more about our comprehensive addiction treatment program, our family-focused approach and our payment options, call us today! Our experts are standing by to help.


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