Is It Harder for the Wealthy to Overcome Substance Use Disorders?

Substance Use Disorders and Wealth 

Mental health and substance use disorders impact people with wealth just as much as anyone else. Many people imagine that people who have the benefit of generational wealth or a trust don’t have a care in the world, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it can actually be more difficult for the wealthy to overcome substance use disorders and other mental health challenges in some ways. 

How can this be though? If you are well-resourced, you can afford access to the best care available, right? There are no barriers to you entering a luxury residential treatment center to get the help for alcohol or drugs you need. “What’s the problem?” some may ask. These are the questions Cottonwood Tucson will attempt to answer in this article. 

Is It Harder for Wealthy People to Get Sober? 

Let’s start with the very first question we asked. Is it harder for the wealthy to overcome substance use disorders? The short answer is, yes, often it is. Chances are that answer surprised you. But, if you come from means and you or a loved one are facing a substance use disorder, it probably rings true. 

The truth is that accessing a luxury residential treatment program for addiction does require resources. Healthcare in the United States is excellent, but it can be costly, even with insurance, if you expect the very best care. 

So, of course, money makes help easier to get. The problem is that access to care is not the only challenge that people with substance use disorders face. This is the part most people miss in the equation. In fact, there are a number of factors that prevent people from getting the help they need for a drug or alcohol problem. Some of these factors are actually exasperated if you have a much higher-than-average income.

Consider these factors:

  • People of means may be better insulated from the legal consequences of drug use.
  • The wealthy can often afford to “continue the party” for as long as they please. 
  • People with money are better protected from the financial consequences of drug use. 
  • The children of wealthy parents may not have to work and have more free time to fill. 
  • Wealthy people or their heirs may have sycophants and “hangers-on” who encourage them to keep the party going against their best interests. 

What Makes People Go to a Residential Treatment Center?

Consider the factors that lead most people to enter a residential treatment center in Arizona or anywhere else. The reality is that people with substance use disorders are generally aware they have a problem for a while before they seek or accept alcohol or drug treatment. 

What leads most people to get help usually isn’t the fact they are battling substance abuse. More often than not, it’s the consequences of that substance use disorder that finally tips the scale. These could be health consequences, but it’s just as often social, economic, or even legal consequences. 

Some of the things that lead people to go to a residential treatment center include:

  • Getting fired from a job. 
  • A breakup with a partner or spouse.
  • Academic failure, losing a scholarship
  • DUI/DWI convictions and losing their license. 
  • Financial distress, car repossession, etc. 
  • Homelessness

How Wealth Changes the Substance Use Recovery Equation

Now, consider how a person with a high six or seven-figure income might be insulated from most of these consequences. A breakup or pressure from loved ones or friends will affect anyone, of course. But legal consequences are generally a lot easier to bear if you can afford excellent attorneys. Losing a job might be a catastrophe for someone in the middle class, but if you’re wealthy, it could be more of an inconvenience or embarrassment than anything else. 

Failing academically is embarrassing surely, but scholarships aren’t a factor and if you have the means, you can always try again. Financial distress can happen to anyone, but it’s less likely to occur to wealthy people. People with trusts or generation wealth often have protections and contingencies in place, in fact, which prevent them from spending all of their money and becoming destitute. While the well-to-do aren’t entirely protected from the consequences of addiction, of course, they usually have a fair amount of insulation that others do not.

Recovery is for Everyone Who Wants It

A popular saying in the 12-step community says “Recovery is not for the people who need it, it’s for the people who want it.” What this really means is that the biggest factor in recovering from a substance use disorder, particularly in the beginning, is willingness. While it’s true that high net-worth individuals may have unique challenges and temptations serving as obstacles to recovery, they also have advantages. 

At the end of the day, recovery from drug or alcohol dependence is a deeply personal journey. It is a gift that everyone should have access to, but we do have to earn it. If you really want to recover and have the willingness to rise to the challenge – then your chances of success are better than average. 

While you need financial resources to enter a luxury residential treatment center and you will get the very best help available there – it is still up to you to do the work. That is perhaps the great democratizing force of addiction. We cannot buy our way into recovery. It takes hard work, but that is also a big reason why it is such a rewarding and cathartic experience. You or the person you love deserve all the rewards recovery has to offer. Cottonwood Tuscon is here to help you surmount any and every obstacle along the way. 

Cottonwood Tucson Luxury Residential Treatment

Cottonwood Tuscon is the Southwest’s premier mental health and substance use disorder treatment center. For over 25 years our mission has been to deliver the highest quality evidence-based treatment available for mental health disorders and chemical dependency.
Our private, luxury residential treatment program is situated on 35 beautiful acres in the Sonoran Desert foothills. If you or someone you love could benefit from the exemplary care and innovative treatment that only Cottonwood can deliver – let’s talk. Call us anytime, 24 hours a day at (888) 433-1069.

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