When the topic of addiction comes up, most people think about addictions to substances, like alcohol addictions or cigarette smoking. This is no surprise considering the 14 million Americans who suffer from alcoholism and the more than 42 million smokers in the United States.
Addictions come with an associated cost. Of course, there are health and social implications, but there is also a large monetary cost. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that smoking-related costs, such as direct medical care and lost productivity, add up to over $289 billion annually. This is before you add on the expenditure of the actual packs of cigarettes, which ranges from $4 to $15 per pack, depending on brand and location.
Not all addictions are to the traditional chemicals like nicotine and alcohol — some people are addicted to behaviors or actions. Take workaholics or exercise addicts, for instance. Simple economic theory says that if an increase in the past consumption of something also raises current consumption, that something is thought to be addictive. Addictions also generally involve a diminished level of control over consumption behavior as time progresses.
This list of the most expensive addictions is determined by examining addictions with the largest amount of money spent on the substance or behavior. Associated costs, both direct and indirect, also played into the determination.