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Substance Use Awareness for International Day of Persons With Disabilities

Because December 3 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, it is a great time to increase your knowledge and awareness of disabilities. There are over 40 million people in the U.S. living with a disability. If someone has a disability, it is important to treat them compassionately, as they may be affected by their disability more than you realize.

What Is the International Day of Persons With Disabilities?

Since 1992, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities has spread awareness regarding the struggles people may experience and how we can create a more inclusive society for everyone. People living with disabilities are especially prone to suffering mentally as well.

Different organizations such as the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and the National Organization on Disability (NOD) spread awareness of the various obstacles people with disabilities face daily.

Addiction and Physical Disability Types

People with disabilities face several obstacles. Because a disability can impair a person’s body, emotions or mental capacity, individuals with a disability have to learn to adapt to their way of life and the challenges that come with it.

Disabilities vary in length, but even short-term conditions can have a large impact on someone’s mental state and body. There are different classifications of disabilities that categorize the various ways they affect someone. These classifications include:

  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Physical disabilities
  • Learning disabilities
  • Sensory disabilities

There are a variety of different disabilities that fit into more than one of these categories. Some of these disabilities are:

  • Autism
  • Down syndrome
  • Deafness
  • Blindness
  • Paralysis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Cerebral palsy

Someone who is disabled may experience more difficulty getting a job or participating in certain activities. As a result of these unique stressors, people can develop a mental illness such as depression or anxiety.

Mental health disorders often lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as a substance use disorder. Whether someone has a physical disability and addiction to alcohol, pain medication or illegal drugs, a substance use disorder paired with a physical disability results in a co-occurring disorder.

The Relationship Between Disabilities and Addiction

People with physical disabilities are two to four times more likely to experience a substance use disorder than an individual without a disability. For example, 7-26% of people with an intellectual disability also have a substance use disorder.

While there are different types of substances a person with disabilities may become addicted to, pain medication is one of the most common. Pain medication addiction in those with physical disabilities is more common because even a short-term prescription can become addictive. Because of this, people with disabilities are more likely to use opioids, which are highly addictive.

It is also common for people with spinal injuries or other physical impairments to become addicted to alcohol. Because alcohol is easy to obtain legally, it is frequently used to self-medicate if someone is experiencing depression or feeling isolated as a result of their injury or condition.

Addiction as a Cause of Disability

In other cases, addiction can cause a disability. Someone suffering from a substance use disorder could easily injure themselves while under the influence, resulting in a short- or long-term injury that could worsen their mental state.

Whether a substance use disorder developed as a result of a disability or vice versa, it is important to seek treatment for these co-occurring disorders. To find the right rehabilitation center, you need to find professionals who can perform an accurate dual diagnosis and make you as comfortable as possible on your journey to recovery.

Contact Gateway Foundation for Treatment Plans

At Gateway Foundation, our compassionate team of medical professionals uses evidence-based approaches to create individualized treatment plans that suit your specific needs and provide long-term results. No matter your disability, our team can make you feel comfortable and treat the underlying issues for your substance use addiction, so you can learn to live a healthy life.

To take the first step to a sober life, contact us today.

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