Unemployment and Addiction – The Link, and where it can go from There
Unemployment and addiction are undeniably linked, but why is this? Why do we so often associate addictions with people who don’t work, and who wind up homeless and in the streets? You might be surprised to find that the stereotype of addiction might not always be true. Just as we think that someone who continuously uses substances or alcohol is ugly and unkempt, this isn’t always the case, either.
In fact, many people are really surprised to find that people they know are struggling with an addiction because they don’t seem to fit the “stereotype.”
So, why do unemployment and addiction go hand in hand, and will it really lead to homelessness? Can someone who is homeless and addicted get a job and pick their lives up, or is this where they are a lost cause?
Unemployment and Addiction – Which One Comes First?
While there are millions of people who struggle with unemployment all the time, not all of those people are addicted. Conversely, while there are millions of people who struggle with addiction, not all of them are unemployed.
The reason that we often think that people who struggle with addictions are likely to become unemployed is due to poor work performance, showing up to work late, or not showing up at all, and going to interviews while high or intoxicated. These are the factors that usually lead to a person losing the job they have or not being able to get another job.
For some who seem to be barely keeping things together, losing a current job is just what it takes to send them over the edge into a deep addiction. This is often increased because of boredom, depression, anxiety, and worry. Things only get worse when the person struggling with an addiction cannot get another job because they are always high or drunk.
So many employers frown on addiction because it’s bad for company morale, it can be unsafe, and it damages productivity. Nobody wants to pay someone who isn’t getting their work done because they have just used or had too much to drink. So, eventually, it leads to being let go.
Other times, people might not become addicted until they find that they are unemployed. This is often the case with pain medication addictions. There is an injury or accident, the person winds up having to go on disability for a while, becomes depressed, anxious, and bored, and finds that abusing pain medications seems to be a good way to pass the time.
Since there are two main ways that an addiction and unemployment can be linked, it’s hard to say which one comes first, but the person struggling with the addiction can almost always tell you which one got things started for them.
Money Woes and Addiction
Unfortunately, even when a person has a job and struggles with an addiction, it’s going to put a significant strain on their finances. Unless they are a functioning alcoholic, in which case, the alcohol becomes part of the budget and is tightly controlled.
The rest of the time, though, there is a definite drain on resources, because the need to use or drink all the time overrides the need to pay the mortgage. When a tolerance develops, things can get even trickier, because the feeling doesn’t even start, let alone last all day, so the person that struggles with the addiction might need to try to get high several times a day, and that’s just to avoid getting sick.
Through all this, the bills just don’t get paid, because even though many drugs are relatively cheap, the amount that many who are addicted to them use is just more than most people can afford.
When you add all these factors to something like being unemployed, and it’s easy to see how a person can easily become homeless, and how it would look like homelessness runs rampant in communities of addiction.
In fact, many people who struggle with addictions are actually able to keep a job and pay their bills, because in truth, nobody wants to be homeless, and using drugs in a cold dirty street is nobody’s idea of a good time.
However, it is undeniable that there are going to be money problems with addictions, because tolerances develop, and many who are addicted tend to use more and more of their drug or alcohol of choice.
What about Homeless People that Develop Addictions?
Homelessness in itself is a pretty serious issue. It’s something that many are working to solve, but that continues to be a problem. The question that many people don’t really ask is if homeless people develop addictions, and if they do, do those addictions happen before homelessness occurs, or as a result of the homeless situation?
There are many homeless people that have mental disorders. Some of them struggle with addictions, but what some experts find is that many who are homeless are not addicts. In fact, they often don’t use any kinds of substances or alcohol at all. Now, there are a number of people that live on the streets that do struggle with addictions, but they might actually be more transient than many people realize.
For those who have no home and are addicted to alcohol or substances, it might be that they are on the streets as a result of their addictions, not because they became addicted while living on the streets. Some homeless people are runaways who begin using as a way to cope with their situation, some, though, wind up with no place to sleep because their addiction has drained all their resources.
It’s important to remember that addictions are quite expensive. Many who live on the streets or are homeless simply don’t have the resources to use or drink regularly enough to maintain an addiction, unless they were addicted when they got there.
Is It Really a Cycle? What Can be Done?
When we begin to ask if addiction and homelessness are a cycle, it’s important to look at every individual case. There are many who struggle with addictions that are not homeless. They are often fortunate enough to have family or friends that have resources and help them with a place to live. However, too often, these situations do not last, and it is common for those that struggle with addictions to bounce from place to place because long-term arrangements cannot be made.
Part of the cause of homelessness in those who struggle with addictions is the inability to pay for lodging and contribute, and a lack of desire and resources of friends and family members to help avoid the situation.
Often, when homelessness does happen to someone that battles an addiction, it causes them to plunge into a sense of despair, and depression, which can actually serve to make addictions worse over time.
It is also a situation that most people, even experts, can’t seem to find a solution to. We can’t ask friends and family members to take a person with an addiction in because they can become volatile, don’t contribute financially, and break house rules. They often steal and disrupt the rest of the family’s sense of well-being and happiness.
We also can’t ask for governments to cover the cost of housing people with addictions because it simply isn’t fair to the taxpayers or the governments to have to shoulder this huge financial burden. Unfortunately, with those who have addictions, maintaining and caring for a home isn’t high on the priority list, and this can create problems when it comes to keeping properties up.
If Your Loved One is Homeless and Addicted
For now, the best thing you can probably do when your loved one is homeless and addicted is to help where you can and be a support system for your friend or family member. You don’t have to let them live in your home, and you don’t have to allow the addiction to tear down your resources or your family, but you might find that you’re helping to take care of responsibilities such as children and pets.
Since these are the innocents of the situation, it’s important that you do what you can, because no child or animal deserves to be homeless because of their parent or owner’s situation.
When it comes to your loved one struggling with an addiction, sometimes, the best you can do is be there emotionally, and be ready when they ask you to help them deal with their addiction.
We can help you help your loved one find addiction treatment when it’s time. We’ll talk to you, and your loved one to find out what will make for a successful recovery journey, and what elements will really help your loved one overcome his addiction. Then, we’ll find out about finances, and insurance, to help make sure that your loved one can afford the treatment he’s about to embark on.
We’ll even walk with your loved one until he checks into rehab, and the best part is, there is never any cost to you or your loved one, so you can feel great knowing that if things change, there is no obligation and you won’t be spending money you really don’t have.
Everyone, no matter what their situation, deserves addiction treatment when they need it. We’re here to help make sure that anyone who wants to attend rehab has the chance, and we can help you. Give us a call today and let us help your loved one break the cycle of unemployment and addiction for good.