Addiction is a disease that can affect anyone, regardless of economic status. However, many stereotypes lead people to believe that all people who struggle with addictions are poor, homeless, or have a lower annual salary. This belief can cause individuals with a higher income to believe that they are impervious to addiction, leading to denial. When individuals leave their addiction untreated, it can cause many problems both at home and at work. Just like everyone else, high-earning working professionals can benefit from seeking help. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, clients are treated for addiction in a way that takes their profession and lifestyle into consideration.
Addiction and Socioeconomic Status
As a disease, addiction is often associated with poverty, and there is some truth to this. Research published in Addiction & Health has found that individuals in a household earning a total of less than $20,000 annually have a 34% higher risk of reporting illegal drug use and substance abuse. It is believed that the increased risk is due to the stress of being unemployed or struggling to take care of themselves or their families.
However, this does not mean that addiction only occurs among individuals with lower incomes. Individuals with a higher annual salary are not immune to addiction, and the denial of this possibility can create denial which prevents necessary treatment.
Addiction Risk Factors in Socioeconomic Groups
The reasons people struggle with addiction are complex. Risk factors range from genetic to environmental factors. Individuals from different economic classes experience these risk factors in different ways. However, individuals in every class are exposed to risk factors that can lead to substance abuse and physical dependency on substances.
When a person lives in poverty, there is a great deal of instability in their life. This can range from where they will sleep tonight to where their next meal is coming from. In addition, individuals living in poverty are subject to the judgment of society. Therefore, they are likely to suffer from physical or verbal abuse from others which in turn creates low self-esteem. As a whole, the level of stress is high for individuals living in poverty. This puts them at high risk for addiction.
Poverty and mental health issues also often go hand in hand. Poverty can be both the cause and the result of poor mental health. According to the research published in BJPsych Bulletin, this is especially true of those who grow up in poverty. Poor mental health put individuals at a higher risk of substance use and addiction.
Individuals who fall into the middle-class income range vary in their susceptibility to addiction according to their location, annual salary, and culture. However, as a whole, middle-class individuals experience unique stressors as a result of their financial situation. Many individuals who consider themselves middle-class feel a lack of financial stability due to fear of losing their jobs. This is especially true when the economy is such that big companies are laying employees off right and left. While the stress experienced by middle-class individuals is different than the stressors of poverty, this stress still puts them at risk for substance use and addiction.
Many people with a middle-class income are also living on the cusp. This means that their monthly expenses are close to their monthly income. As a result, there is pressure to keep their jobs, go to work, and keep up with everything else in life. However, over time, this is highly fatiguing and can result in substance use as a way to cope with the demands.
High-earning individuals tend to live a very different lifestyle from those who live in poverty or the middle class. They experience unique stressors that come from social expectations and the demands of working as high-up executives or leaders of companies. These individuals are often responsible for entire companies and all employees who work there. This creates a level of stress and demand that can lead to substance use and addiction.
Additionally, according to the Journal of the Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, individuals in families with higher incomes have more access to drugs and alcohol. Having access includes knowing people who you can buy substances from and having the money to do so. High-earning individuals and their families, therefore, are also at risk of substance use and addiction, especially when it is readily available.
Addiction Treatment That Addresses Unique Needs
Individuals from every economic class experience the risks of addiction in a unique way. Additionally, the transition into recovery will also be unique and depend on a person’s lifestyle. Ideally, addiction treatment will address the unique needs of each individual. Therefore, individuals who have lived in poverty will need to learn skills that differ from high-earning individuals who are struggling with addiction. While addiction does not discriminate or care about a person’s annual salary, a treatment that considers each person’s unique needs is more likely to be successful in helping anyone succeed in long-term recovery.
The stereotypical picture of a homeless person living with addiction prevents many people from recognizing their struggle with addiction and getting the necessary help. However, the risk factors of addiction impact individuals along the spectrum of earning, from poverty to high-earning executives. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we understand that individuals at every income level can be affected by addiction. Our program is designed to work with every individual and help them learn the skills to be successful in recovery. We focus on helping working professionals and executives to heal from addiction and return to work with new skills that help them stay sober and thrive in their careers. To learn more, call (714) 492-1119 today.