Drug addiction among disabled people is a common problem that occurs much more readily among this group than among the general population. People with disabilities face a unique set of challenges that often add significant stress to a person's life. This stress can lead to problems with drugs or alcohol as the afflicted individual seeks to soothe symptoms caused by the disability or social problems associated with it. However, what many people don't realize is that the term disability can mean many different things. People can have mental, emotional, physical, developmental or other disabilities that can make living a normal life nearly impossible. Consequently, a great deal of education on this issue is required in order to bring about a state of awareness where better treatment options are made available.

The prevalence of people who have disabilities and drug addiction or alcoholism is surprisingly high. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that there are 4.7 million adults with a disability and a co-occurring drug abuse or addiction issue. Overall, the USDHHS states that people with disabilities abuse and become addicted to drugs at a rate that is 2 to 4 times higher than that of the general United States population. These figures tell us that there is a significant problem here that needs to be addressed. Additionally, substance abuse rates at this level are all the more alarming considering that many people will not admit to a drug or alcohol problem and therefore most studies done in this area have relied on self-reported information. As a result it's likely that these numbers are much higher.

One of the most troubling aspects of a disability and co-occurring addiction is that there can be a complete misdiagnosis or lack of diagnosis of one or both conditions. Additionally, one condition can masquerade as the other and make treatment extremely difficult. For instance, some people with disabilities that prevent them from consistent performance on the job have been accused of drug use instead when the disability was not known. Conversely, some people with hidden drug issues may be interpreted as having a learning, emotional or mental disability. The signs and symptoms of these conditions can often be confused and blurred, complicating treatment efforts. According to Dr. C. Lynn Fox and Dr. Shirley E. Forbing;

"The effects of substance abuse have produced a population of students who exhibit behaviors similar to the behaviors of many youth with learning problems. Often such students are mislabeled as learning handicapped (including learning disability, behavioral disorder, and attention deficit/hyperactive disorder), when their primary problem is actually one of chemical abuse."

When attempting to uncover the actual prevalence of drug addiction and the disabled it's important to consider that some disabilities will prevent substance abuse by their very nature. This includes traumatic brain injuries or conditions that lead to a reduced mental capacity. However, this doesn't mean that physical dependence can't occur if medications are administered consistently for long periods of time.

Treatment for disabled persons with drug addiction or alcoholism issues involves focusing on the most threatening condition first – addiction. This includes a program of detox associated with acute withdrawal syndrome, inpatient or outpatient treatment, and a variety of different types of therapies.

If this condition describes you or someone you love, take action now and speak to an expert at our Florida Drug Rehab Center – widely considered one of the most successful in the country.

Click here to check your insurance, ask a question or request a call back from Recovery First's drug rehab.

Author's Bio: 

RJ Hudson is a highly trained and versatile professional writer and editor.