There are exceptionally few aspects of life addiction does not impact. For many struggling with addiction, financial issues often crop up and exasperate the suffering. In some instances, money problems may fuel the desire to drink or use drugs. Understanding how financial issues are woven into the recovery process is an important part of the care provided at California rehabs.
In addition to the everyday general financial stress Americans face, millions are also now struggling to make ends meet after losing their jobs or having their income drastically reduced. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, more than 40 million people have filed for unemployment. In April, Gov. Newsom announced that California’s unemployment rate will be 18 percent in 2020.
Losing one’s job or taking on the full responsibility of household expenses after a partner loses theirs, is emotionally draining. The loss of income is a traumatic event that can threaten recovery. It may even lead to occasional use turning into heavy use or addiction. Wrestling with the unknown, watching the bills pile up, and having no way to guarantee financial security is a major trigger for anxiety and depression, which can fuel the desire to escape through substance abuse.
How Finances Affect Addiction
Money is one of the greatest stressors in life. A 2018 federal study found that millions of Americans are just $400 short of facing financial hardship. With hours cut and income loss abounding, people are struggling to not only take care of their financial needs but also cope mentally.
Relying on substances to temporarily numb the pain, fear, and shame of poverty only worsens the problem. It creates a horrible cycle of guilt and self-medicating as you spend money you cannot afford to lose. Adapting to financial hardship is crucial, even though there is any number of uncertain elements at play. It is normal to feel stressed, anxious, and experience a return of old mental health problems like depression and OCD.
As those suffering desperately search for a sense of security and control, substances may be the only constant they can rely on. But escaping from financial issues through drugs or alcohol will not make them disappear. In fact, the opposite is likely to occur where the continued use of drugs or alcohol serves to deepen personal financial crises.
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Recovery and Financial Hardship
Depending on where you live, access to important resources may be limited. This can lead to over-reliance on substances as a form of escape. Alcohol is the most common choice because of its accessibility. In 2018, 6 percent of Californians were identified as having qualified for an alcohol use disorder.
Alcohol and many illegal drugs are cheap enough to acquire even if someone is struggling financially. What someone spends on drugs only sets one back further from getting better. Financial prosperity starts with strict budgeting and sacrifices, especially when your income is drastically restricted, or work has been lost altogether. California rehabs and treatment centers have acknowledged it is necessary to not only help someone recovery from substance abuse but from poor financial decision making.
Steps to Take When Unemployed Instead of Turning to Substance Use
Filing for unemployment benefits should be the first step. Unfortunately, the filing process can be cumbersome, if not embarrassing, leading some to turn to drugs instead of applying for support. Even after applying and being granted unemployment coverage, government assistance does not provide enough to provide support indefinitely. Those in recovery need professional assistance that will prepare them for when government assistance runs out and income must be found elsewhere.
If someone is in recovery and has lost their job more severe cravings for drugs or alcohol may arise. This is not a sign of personal failure. Difficult life events produce more stress and anxiety than usual. This can worsen substance abuse symptoms even after detoxification and placement in a recovery center. Reaching out to a sponsor, therapist, or support group is imperative. Do not let someone sit alone and sink into self-pity. Surrounding those in need with people who remind them of their value and the options they have is one of the most important components of recovery.
Options for California Rehabs
During these trying times, taking the difficult first may seem near impossible. But, keep in mind there is nothing to lose by contacting a professional about a loved one’s drug or alcohol addiction. The sooner someone takes the all-important first step, the faster recovery can begin, and financial issues can be resolved.
There are a variety of addiction treatments available. The best option from a year ago may be different today with the impact of the coronavirus and collapsing economic state. Whether the choice is attending group meetings, visiting a therapist for one-on-one sessions, or living in a rehab facility, starting any treatment is one step closer to a sober life. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction. Contact your local hospital or speak with one of our professionals at Ocean Hills Recovery.
Sources: https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-05-08/jobs-report-labor-market-shock  https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/files/2018-report-economic-well-being-us-households-201905.pdf  https://www.chcf.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/SubstanceUseDisorderAlmanac2018.pdf
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.