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Why Nobody Seems to Be Talking About Substance Abuse and Disability

Why Nobody Seems to Be Talking About Substance Abuse and Disability

Whether a disability stems from a medical condition, accident, or some other means, it can have a serious and negative impact on a person’s emotional well-being. For some people, the impact leads to substance abuse. Some people want to numb the physical and emotional pain and sense of loss while others struggle to distract themselves from having too much time on their hands. With millions of people living with some type of a disability, it is worthwhile to look at how substance abuse and disability can coexist alongside one another.

Reasons for Risk

Living with disability can increase the risk of experiencing addiction. Sometimes cognitive function is impaired, but sometimes individuals who have reduced ability to think clearly don’t recognize the dangers of substance abuse. Some people with traumatic brain injury, for instance, may believe alcohol can help improve their social skills. Disability can hamper a person’s ability to function mentally, as well, as it can lead to:

  • Bipolar illness
  • Schizophrenia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Depression

In order to alleviate symptoms, a person may take substances to feel better because it is better to numb the pain or difficult symptoms than cope with substance use issues that may arise.

Lack of Treatment Options

A person with disability may not have access to proper treatment. Physical disabilities and mental health conditions such as impaired vision or depression may leave some people feeling trapped. Getting around with a disability varies person to person but sometimes mobility is impaired which can fuel depression, anxiety, or other issues which may in turn fuel substance use. Lack of social support is also a problem. Social isolation potentially leads to loss of other resources like reaching out to support groups, friends, co-workers, churches, or other places of connection.

Risks and Rewards

Some of the risks of untreated substance use for people with disabilities may be that they are unable to seek proper treatment. They may miss appointments or neglect to take medication on a schedule necessary to help them. Not adhering to treatment may make their condition worse or create problems for them. Some substances also interfere with prescription medication and impair the ability to think clearly or act properly. Oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine may interact with alcohol sedative effects, intensifying them.

Seeking treatment is part of the challenge of having disabilities and substance use disorder. Part of the reward of seeking help is that a treatment plan can be developed which will support recovery, with their needs in mind. Living with disability has serious implications for a person’s well-being but improved quality of life is possible with the right support and treatment.

Serenity believes in the power of connecting people to their purpose: health and wellness in recovery from addiction. You deserve to be healed from addiction, with recovery as your new path to freedom. We will help you step onto that path with detox and treatment options which support you and where you are right now. Recovery is a lifelong journey. Let us help you get on the right track. Call us 24/7 at our toll-free number: 866-294-9401