The impact addiction has on your finances

By Harper Banks

The physical and emotional cost of dealing with an addiction can be destabilizing. On top of this, it will have an impact on your finances.

We find out why addiction will exponentially drain your bank account, and we consider what recovery and withdrawal will look like.

Tip: If you have been pushed into unexpected debt, debt consolidation may be of assistance

Addiction leads to exponential loss

Allan Sweidan, mental health expert, clinical psychologist, and co-founder at Panda, says that when it comes to addiction, you need to realise that it will grow over time. 

“You will need more of the substance that you’re addicted to in order to get the same results. This means that if you start smoking one cigarette a day, you might soon find yourself craving to smoke a box or more,” he says.

To put this into context, smoking a single cigarette a day would equate to one and a half packs of cigarettes a month, at a cost of roughly R75. Capitulating to a craving for a pack a day will tip the cost beyond R1,500 a month. This is an increase of 2,000%, which is incredibly steep.

Sweidan explains that as your body becomes more tolerant of the substance, it wants more of it. He says that this is especially true in the case of tobacco and alcohol.

Within a short period of time, your expenses will grow exponentially and you will have to stretch your budget to afford more of your addictive substance. In some cases, addicts prioritize their addiction over their responsibilities, which can also lead to debt.

Recovery is better in the long-run

Sweidan says that while a lot of people wish they could just cut down on the amount they are using, the only way to overcome addiction is to stop altogether – as radical as that might sound.

This involves going “cold turkey” or weaning yourself off your addictive substance completely. A support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, can be of great assistance.

When trying to quit, it’s important to have a support system because withdrawal can be very unpleasant. Sweidan explains that there are two kinds of pain or discomfort that can occur.

“The first is physical and, in some cases, a doctor may be necessary to manage the withdrawal symptoms. The other discomfort is psychological pain. Although this isn’t dangerous, it can be pretty painful,” says Sweidan.

Going through withdrawal is a horrible experience. However, in the long run, you will end up wasting a lot more money if you continue to support your addiction.

Sweidan says that there are some very well researched methods to help you quit. You can ask your general practitioner or an addiction expert for recommendations.

You don’t need to struggle with debt. Find out whether debt consolidation is right for you.

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