When Addiction and Physical Disability Co-Occur

Addiction is a cage. But the bars of this cage are weak and can be broken. Though too often, the unfortunate person in this cage just sits and contemplates on their prison sentence. For them, escape is an impossibility – the thought never even graces their mind. The prisoner’s loved ones and friends watch from the other side of the bars. They can do nothing but watch the devastation. 

Can this scenario get any worse? Yes. Addiction is a terrible disease to endure, for both the addicted individual and their loved ones. But what if the addicted individual also suffers from a physical disability? For starters, people with physical disabilities are far more likely to abuse drugs than the rest of the country. But people with disabilities are also less likely to seek treatment, as a result of a failure to access services that other people can.

The Connection Between Shame and Disability

Many people with physical disabilities might reject society and become hermits. Such isolation makes substance abuse both more likely and more dangerous. In addition, there will be no one in their lives to help them and to make them seek treatment. For these reasons, addiction or alcoholism and disability are a lethal combination. 

What is a Physical Disability?

A physical disability is a condition that affects a person’s physical functioning, dexterity, stamina, or mobility. ‘Physical’ implies a reduced ability to perform body movements, like swimming or running. Other physical disabilities can impair various aspects of our lives, such as blindness, sleep disorders, and respiratory problems. Any medical disorder that affects how we interact with the world is a physical disability.

What are Some Common Physical Disabilities?

Is Drug Addiction a Disability

There are many kinds of physical disabilities. However, all physical disabilities are classified into two main groups. 

Musculoskeletal disability

A disability that affects muscles, joints, tendons, nerves, cartilage, and spinal discs are called a musculoskeletal disability. Such disorders are the single most popular workplace injury and account for 30% of all worker’s compensation costs.

Musculoskeletal disabilities are preventable. Typically, they are caused by risk factors. Let’s say a workplace responsibility is outside the worker’s capabilities. Not only does the task require the worker to forcefully exert themselves but it also makes the worker get into awkward positions that puts pressure on joints and muscles. When these workplace responsibilities are performed with great repetition, eventually they will cause musculoskeletal injuries.

Neuromusculoskeletal disability

A neuromusculoskeletal disorder affects the neurons that control muscles and the neurons that send information to the brain. Muscles move as a result of messages from the neurons. Communication between the central nervous system and muscles begins to break down if these neurons are unhealthy. 

Generally, neuromuscular disorders can be treated to improve quality of life, but they are not curable. Neuromuscular disorders can include;

How Can Substance Abuse Develop in Those Suffering from Physical Disabilities 

According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Paralysis Research Center, substance abuse occurs more often in the disabled population than in the general population. In fact, more than 50% of people suffering from traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or mental illness also suffer from addiction.

People with physical disabilities are more likely to become substance abusers for a number of reasons. 

Unemployment

People with physical disabilities are more likely to be unemployed or underemployed. This could be because people with physical disabilities lack social skills and confidence to perform adequately in the workplace. 

Isolation

People with physical disabilities are more likely to be isolated with few other recreational activities to participate in besides drugs or alcohol. Some people with physical disabilities will find bars to be the only places where they could participate in social activities. 

Low Self-Esteem

People with physical disabilities will have low self-esteem based on their disorder. As a result, they might feel depressed and require drugs or alcohol to feel better.

Abuse

Sadly, people with physical disabilities are much more likely to become victims of abuse. They might be perceived as unable to protect themselves and defenseless. Aides working in treatment centers could sexually abuse disabled patients. The abuse builds up, requiring some to seek drugs and alcohol to ease the pain.

Why People with Physical Disabilities are Less Likely to Seek Drug or Alcohol Treatment

Disability and addiction

Although people with physical disabilities are more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, they are less likely to seek treatment. A host of unfortunate reasons makes it more difficult for such individuals to attain the necessary drug treatment. 

Accessibility

Seeking drug treatment is much more difficult for someone with a physical disability. This fact alone often discourages such individuals from even trying to get help. First of all, people suffering from physical disabilities are less likely to be able to get to treatment centers. Drug rehabilitation consists of going to inpatient, outpatient, and regular group sessions. If someone is physically disabled, it is much more difficult to attend such sessions on a regular basis. 

Communication

All physical disabilities present unique problems for someone trying to seek treatment. Someone who is deaf, for example, will need someone who could sign during therapy. Someone with a severe brain injury will require a unique learning system, including the treatment specialist assessing the brain-injured patient’s ability to read and write, and essentially, comprehend the messages of the drug counseling.

Physical therapy

Many rehabilitation facilities incorporate exercise as an integral part of treatment. For those with physical disabilities, exercise may not be possible. As a result, these individuals may not receive the total benefits of rehab.

Is Drug Addiction a Disability?

According to Social Security, a disability applicant will not be approved just because he or she is a drug addict. Social Security does not consider addiction a disability until the addiction causes irreversible medical harm. On the disability application, there is no longer an ‘addiction’ box to check. However, there is a list of medical conditions, commonly caused by chronic drug use, that could qualify individuals for disability benefits.

The answer to “is drug addiction a disability” is no. However, the most common medical disorders caused by addiction do qualify someone as disabled.

Substance Abusers with Disabilities Have the Same Rights as those Without Disabilities

When Addiction and Physical Disability Co-Occur

Substance abuse treatment for people with physical disabilities is a particularly difficult road. According to the previous section, many addicts with disabilities assume that their specific situation is untreatable. This is complete malarky. Often, such logic is just a justification NOT to enter rehab and to continue using. However, according to the Americans with Disability Act, health care services should be accessed by everyone equally.

The purpose of the Americans with Disability Act was to ensure that people with disabilities are able to enjoy the same rights and freedoms as everyone else, especially healthcare rehabilitation.

Dual Diagnosis Programs Provide Addiction Treatment While Also Focusing on Mental Health Needs

Imagine a person with brain damage gets admitted to a drug rehabilitation facility. Unless this individual is treated properly, with both medical disorders affecting his or her treatment plan, sobriety will unlikely be achieved. For example, this patient could be an addict because of their brain damage. Without proper treatment, acknowledging the patient’s brain damage, addiction treatment may not be properly implemented.

Reach Out to Coastal Detox Today 

Most detox facilities should be able to treat patients with drug addiction or alcoholism and disability. Coastal Detox, for example, is fully equipped to handle physically disabled patients also suffering from addiction. Coastal Detox prides themselves on their ability to provide any patient with the same detox services, such as medical detox, as everyone else. As long as the individual, or their representative, informs Coastal Detox about the disability that they possess, such specific needs will be accommodated.

Connor Barton
Connor Barton
2022-06-03
Verified
The staff here is amazing. Caring and attentive. I finally kicked the sticks and couldn’t be happier.
Jacob Rashid
Jacob Rashid
2022-06-03
Verified
So nice to have Grandma back to her old self. She has struggled with xannies for as long as I can remember. The staff were so attentive and met her where she was, not where they wanted her to be. Thank you Coastal Detox!
Tara Payne
Tara Payne
2022-05-20
Verified
I struggled with alcohol addiction for most of my life. After many tries nothing worked.It was my 43rd birthday and I wasn't gonna see 44 if I didn't get help. I called around and found Coastal. So glad I did. I am so grateful for EVERYONE there. This beautiful facility is not just a detox. They actually have programs to help you learn to live a sober life and enjoy being yourself again! Entire staff is awesome! (Ms Diana ❤️ and Mrs Karen ❤️)They really understand how your feeling as most are in recovery also. If your looking for some help please give them a call. I give them 10+stars. Five months sober now!!! Thank you Coastal!!!
Bob Hawkins
Bob Hawkins
2022-05-04
Verified
The entire staff of Coastal is great, the therapists, the nurses, the techs, everyone. It’s a great environment to begin your recovery in. As an added perk, the food is some of the best you’ll ever have thanks to the chefs.
Tony Givens
Tony Givens
2022-05-04
Verified
My experience at coastal detox was very good, the staff there is terrific. They helped me get through the process of detox in a safe and professional manor.
Jodi Silverman Goldberg
Jodi Silverman Goldberg
2022-03-21
Verified
It been almost a year!! Thank y’all
Matthew Mcnulty
Matthew Mcnulty
2022-03-07
Verified
This is the top tier Rehab/Detox center in Southeast FL. I’ve heard nothing but good things about them. Their attention to detail is impressive. They specialize in treating alcohol abuse among several other conditions. If you or a loved one are looking for a blueprint on how to sober up…Coastal Detox will lead you there.
Mary Katz
Mary Katz
2022-02-26
Verified
My experience with Coastal has been one of empathy, kindness and family. From Admissions to Nurses to techs I have never felt so cared for. Food and drink 24/7. Coastal is a place I went twice. First time 14 days next 6days later for another 11. At 59 and umpteen detoxes Coastal by far is Heaven Sent! As a Nutritionist and Trainer, I'm so happy to be back....the Mary ,who was lost:)
vicky ehr
vicky ehr
2022-01-29
Verified
Great place . Helped me so much I am a 64 year old woman and this place got me sober with dignity and kindness. I highly recommend it plus the food is incredible. Rooms are really well laid out. 2 guys to a room . Each bed has its own t.v with head sets so you dont bother your roomate. Take an extra pillow and comfort blanket from home. At least 3 pairs of pj’ s sock and shoes and comfortable clothing fit. You do your own laundry there. I will send you the link to look at. After thinking all morning this is hands down the place for you. Lots of young people and fantastic therapists. For my wonderful son who suffers. From addiction the way I do.

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