Alcoholism has a number of negative effects on both the alcoholic and his family. Not only does alcoholism take an emotional and physical toll, but it can cause enormous financial hardships as well. Alcoholics frequently suffer a number of different financial problems related to their drinking.
Money Spent on Alcohol
Alcoholic isn't cheap. Even the alcoholic who drinks in moderation can expect to pay a large amount of money to finance her vice. For example, say an alcoholic consumes two six packs of domestic beer a week. Supposing that the beer costs $5 per six pack, the alcoholic can expect to spend more than $500 per year on alcohol costs. Heavier drinkers or those who drink in bars can expect to spend many times this.
Alcohol impairs judgment and mobility. This leaves alcoholics far more likely to sustain medical injuries requiring attention or even hospitalization. These injuries can cost the alcoholic financially in a number of ways, such as through higher insurance rates, through out-of-pocket medical expenses and deductibles, and through lost work.
Many alcoholics, in an effort to recover from their addiction, will choose to enter a treatment program. While some treatment programs are free or are covered by the alcoholic's insurance, others are enormously expensive and must be paid for out of pocket. According to the website Drug Rehabs, a week at some live-in treatment centers can cost the patient several thousand dollars, as much as a luxury hotel.
Alcoholics may end up causing damage not just to themselves but to others as well. This damage can take the form of harm to people and to property. For example, an alcoholic may crash into another car. Such behavior can spark claims against the alcoholic's insurance -- leading to higher premiums -- lawsuits, and even criminal fines. In the case of particularly serious crimes, alcoholics may be required to pay restitution to their victims.
Loss of Income
Alcoholism can cause a loss of income in two ways. First, drinking binges can cause an alcoholic to miss work. This can result in lower productivity, which can lead to lower compensation and, in some cases, the loss of job. Secondly, according to the website Drug Rehabs, alcoholism is negatively correlated with lower levels of education. A person who is alcoholic is less likely to have completed high school and college, which can lead to lower lifetime earnings.
Michael Wolfe has been writing and editing since 2005, with a background including both business and creative writing. He has worked as a reporter for a community newspaper in New York City and a federal policy newsletter in Washington, D.C. Wolfe holds a B.A. in art history and is a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.