Likelihood of Alcohol Abuse Greater in a Bad Neighborhood

Getting help is never a “dollars and cents” issue…but when you look at the economic impact of continuing abuse, treatment always makes sense.

If you need one more reason to get help for problem drinking, you may find motivation out of a Virginia health care study examining the use of alcohol, and the kind of neighborhood you can expect to live in. Researchers examined hundreds of Caucasian men over a 12 year period, evaluated their alcohol use behaviors, and as well plotted their residences every three years during that 12 year period. They found that heavy use of alcohol over that time was significantly and casually related to a far greater likelihood of residing in a “bad neighborhood” (as defined by low socio economic status).

Contrarily, those people who reversed heavy alcohol consumption were far more likely to move out into better neighborhoods as their length of abstinence progressed. Researchers explain that approximately 40 percent of experienced risk towards alcohol abuse seems to be environmental, and that continuing residency in low socio economic neighborhoods likely further contributes to abuse due to an increase in environmental stressors, negative modeling and lesser access to treatment and social programming.

The Many Costs of Drinking

The researchers conclude that alcohol abuse does not solely diminish health, but it also very negatively impacts on quality of life and socio economic status. Of course not everyone who abuses or is dependent on alcohol lives in a “bad neighborhood” and many successful professionals boasting impressive residences drink far more than is healthy; but on a societal level, alcohol abuse and dependency seems very closely linked with greater poverty and downward social mobility.

Alcohol abusers don’t perform as well at work, are more likely to be fired, and more likely to suffer health problems related to abuse that reduce their employment potential…also, alcohol can be expensive when consumed in the kind of quantities a serious alcoholic needs.

My family never needed to move out of the family home, but we certainly suffered economically during my period of alcohol and drug abuse. I held down a job, but I certainly didn’t excel, and nearly lost it a number of times (should really have lost it) and we were lucky to have done as well as we did. People should never look at the cost of treatment as a barrier to access, and you just need to find the best drug or alcohol treatment that you can possibly afford, and consider it an investment in the future.

It worked for me, and my family is far more comfortable now that my attentions are not so firmly focused on intoxication…and it seems that research backs up my experience. Continuing abuse always leads to destruction on many levels, and you are far less likely to enjoy a good neighborhood, live on safe streets, and send your kids to quality schools while continuing to use and abuse alcohol or drugs.