The Relationship Between Money and Addiction
Signs of addiction problems can manifest in a myriad of ways, like financial problems. Here’s a closer look at the link between money problems and addiction.
Have you ever had a friend joke that they’re addicted to spending? Do you see them racking up their credits cards in order to purchase things way above their means? It’s possible they’ve developed addiction problems that stem from their spending habits.
Or, how about the flip side of the coin. Someone with addiction problems is going to develop bad spending habits and experience the same result: a negative bank account balance and credit card bills they simply cannot pay.
Addiction problems and money problems go hand in hand. But, knowledge is power. With a little bit of knowledge and a whole lot of resolve, each of these bad habits can be changed. Let’s take a closer look.
Problems with Addiction
What is an addiction? People who have never been afflicted with the disease like to call it a choice. It’s a choice to have that next drink, take that next drug, or engage in that next shopping or gambling spree.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Addiction chemically rewires neural pathways, making the brain associate the addictive substance with pleasure. In the end, your brain has been programmed to desire the very thing that could be killing you.
Spending and the Brain
Just like that next drink can mistakenly trigger your brain to interpret alcohol or drugs as a reward, so can something as simple as your spending habits. The same thing happens here.
Buying something new triggers a response in the reward center of the brain. It’s why people joke around about retail therapy. It feels good.
For the non-addict a shopping spree is just that, a singular spree. It won’t hugely impact their bank account or potentially cause a downward spiral.
But, for the addict, the response shifts from a simple reward to a strong euphoria of getting high. This turns the response away from a rational experience to something much different.
The same part of our brain that can trigger a healthy response to pleasure is also responsible for controlling impulses, anxiety, and depression. You can see how this becomes a slippery slope.
It’s also the same part of the brain that makes it almost impossible for an addict to say no. At a certain point, this part of the brain prohibits an addict from saying no to the euphoria that comes after a spending spree.
Recovery from Addiction Problems Is Possible
If you see yourself falling into addictive spending habits, it is possible to put an end to it. Just as your brain became programmed to feel euphoria after spending, you can reprogram it to feel euphoria from healthier activities, like yoga or other physical exercises. Volunteering your time and giving back are other substitutes.
But, let’s address the spending habits before we move on to more wholesome activities. There are a couple things you can do to turn the tide.
First, put your debit card away. Having your debit card in your wallet gives you too much easy access to your money, making the fight against temptation in the early days too difficult.
Ask a family member you can trust to oversee your funds. If they see you’ve accessed too much money on any given week, they’ll be able to hold you accountable for your choices.
If you have a sponsor, make sure you touch base with them every pay day. Check in with them and discuss your healthy choices. Reaffirm out loud to them (and yourself) that you’ve done the next right thing and avoided overspending the moment you received a pay check.
Addiction Problems and Your Bank Account
Now, let’s look at the flip side of the coin. Say spending isn’t your addiction, but alcohol or another substance is. What kind of impact is that going to have on your brain and, in the end, your wallet? Is there a relation between money issues and drug addiction?
The first most obvious thing is that, whether your addiction is whiskey or crack, it’s going to cost you. If you’re deep in addiction, you may need to find some relief on a daily basis and that’s going to plummet your bank account.
Then, there’s the secondary effect of addiction. Do you know someone who has done drunk spending? It begins as a harmless affair. They might be sitting home at night and, after three glasses of wine, decide to hop on to Amazon and see what’s out there. Next thing you know, they’ve placed a $200 order they won’t remember in the morning.
It’s not a news flash that alcohol lowers your inhibition and sets you up to make horrific decisions. And, if alcohol and lowered inhibitions become a regular part of your life, poor spending habits are sure to come along, too.
Then, there are the health problems that stem from addiction. You may already know that alcohol lowers your immunity. So, you probably don’t have to guess what drugs and other illicit substances are doing to your immune system.
You’ve got your basic clumsiness that ensues on the pathway to getting high, causing major falls and even breaks. If it’s long-term alcohol abuse you’re dealing with, then you’ve got your liver to think about.
If it’s some type of intravenous drug you’re struggling with, then you’ve got bacterial infections to contend with. These are just a few of the costly health problems that could come knocking on an addict’s door.
Finally, if it’s not medical, it could be a legal repercussion. What if a DUI becomes a part of your reality?
The numbers change every year, but experts put the cost of a DUI somewhere around $10,000 after all the legal fees and court fees are all said and done.
Imagine what you could’ve done with that $10,000 if you’d gotten help before things progressed to the day when you put your life and the lives of others at risk?
Still, Recovery from Addiction Problems Is Possible
While liver damage and DUIs are quite a way down an addict’s path, alcoholism and addiction is a progressive disease. The more you entertain it, the bigger the monster becomes.
Still, it’s possible to recover from addiction problems, reprogram the brain, and live a life filled with joy that isn’t substance-based.
Here at Muse Treatment, we treat drug addiction, offer dual diagnoses, and help our clients combat mental health disorders. We care about all of our patients and getting them on the right track.
Each client receives a psychiatric and medical assessment upon admission, opening the doors to inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, and sober living – whichever will be the best course of action for you.