How Social Status Affects Substance Use Disorders

People of all ages and classes can struggle with addiction. For those on the lower end of the economic scale, the ability to get help when needed will be limited. Additionally, those who struggle with dual diagnoses are more likely to go undiagnosed in a lower-income household with limited access to healthcare.

Understanding How Social Status Affects Substance Use Disorders is critical to finding quality treatment. Because both mental illness and addiction can run in families, the risk of substance abuse goes up from generation to generation. If you watched your father suppress his depression demons with alcohol and find that it works for you while you\’re in your teens, addiction later in life is likely. To prevent the long-term damage of alcohol abuse, getting an accurate diagnosis and treatment for depression is key to a healthy life.

The Limitations Of Poverty

Poverty is a hazardous condition that puts you at greater risk of hard decisions when you need medical care. Additionally, those who face the constant grind of poverty are under constant stress. The pressures of poverty often push people to find release, and drugs and alcohol can soothe that stress, include

  • quality housing
  • decent child care
  • affordable groceries
  • reliable transportation

While drugs and alcohol are neither a healthy nor a terribly logical choice, they are often the easiest stress-relieving tool to reach. For many middle-class citizens, the shame of admitting to a problem with addiction can lower your access to care. If your parents were poor and addicted, your hard work to move into the middle class may have you feeling less than proud of your roots. However, while addiction can certainly increase the risk of poverty, it\’s not the only source of poverty in our culture.

While those in the middle class likely have better access to healthcare, admitting to mental health worries can still be difficult. This inherent shame could lead to drinking or using drugs in secret as your stress levels go up. Because our society incorrectly views addiction as a weakness, hidden addiction and the secretive behaviors it takes to hide your drug and alcohol use means you can develop a serious problem before something happens to bring your addiction into the light.

Getting help before you reach a crisis, such as hospitalization or an arrest will require a change in your mindset. In the upper classes, addictive substances and behaviors can be easier to hide. Again, you may have access to healthcare, but you probably also have more leisure time to experiment with illegal drugs if you are inclined to do so. Among the young and wealthy, this experimentation can lead to dangerous exposures to chemicals and people who can cause serious harm.

Growing up in an affluent household often offers a sense of safety that falsely encourages young people to believe they can easily fix the damage they\’ve done to themselves and others while under the influence. The culture of shame around addiction can impact those in all classes, but for families of generational wealth, this shame can be especially corrosive.

Many young people who grew up in wealth struggle to make deep friendships and quality relationships; the strain of loneliness and being accepted for who they are can often lead to destructive isolation. In addition to substance abuse, depression, eating disorders and anxiety are all a higher risk for children of affluence.

For people of all classes, the damage of hidden addiction isn\’t addressed until the condition lands someone in the hospital or in court. Once someone enters the legal system as an addict, access to safe detox and quality treatment may be limited. Because detox can be fatal, getting access to a safe, monitored detox with the help of skilled professionals is a critical first step. A hard or cold-turkey detox, such as time in a jail cell, can be fatal.

Once someone has been through the physical and mental anguish of detox, the next step is to enter a quality treatment program that allows you to build new coping skills and a new community. Our treatment team can help you build a better path. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Call 833-610-1174.

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