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A point of concern that has come across the desks of those in organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Trust for American Health (TAH), is that substance abuse, addiction, physical disability, and mental difficulties all one and the same tend to go hand in hand. Whether a disability stems from an accident or a medical condition it doesn’t really matter, but for some reason disabled Americans are now eight times more likely to become addicted to drugs and alcohol than non-disabled Americans are.
Disabled Americans experiences problems such as multiple sclerosis or a serious mental health disorder. They have physical handicaps that prevent them from leading normal lives. All of these situational discomforts and more make them more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol to escape it all. Such individuals often feel as though their disability has an often very serious and negative impact on a person’s emotional well-being. Sometimes they think that the only thing they can do for it is to abuse drugs or alcohol.
There are a lot of different types of disabilities that people in the nation have, but whether a disability stems from an accident or a medical condition, such as multiple sclerosis or a serious mental health disorder or a physical handicap, it often has a serious and negative impact on a person’s emotional well-being to say the least. In an increasingly growing number of individuals, that impact leads to the abuse of alcohol or drugs amongst other things. Some want to numb the physical and emotional pain and sense of loss that comes with being physically or emotionally disabled. Others struggle to distract themselves from having too much time on their hands which is also a result of being disabled.
For the numbers on it, it’s been estimated that well over 50 million Americans live with some type of disability whether it is physical or mental. While that statistic includes those born with a mental or physical impairment, it also encompasses those who become disabled at some point during their lifetime and are inhibited suddenly and are unable to live life on the same levels as before.
Individuals with disabilities have a substance abuse rate that is 2 to 4 times that of the non-disabled population, according to the Department of Health and Human Services and the research projects done by the above organizations. It’s estimated that as many as half of those with an orthopedic disability, spinal cord injury, amputation, or vision impairment can be classified as heavy drinkers and binge drinkers and evens daily drinkers for some of them. Additionally, arthritis sufferers and those with multiple sclerosis have high rates of drug and alcohol abuse, nearly double the rate of the rates in the general, non-handicapped and non-disabled population. Finally, those with mental disabilities and difficulties tend to abuse both psychiatric medications and street drugs at a rate that is three times that of those who do not suffer from such difficulties.
Facts and Statistics
Drug and alcohol addiction and the general factor of substance abuse in the nation today has been going on and on and making problems after problems across all areas and sectors of the United States. These issues have been very concerning and have been doing nothing but getting worse and worse and worse as the years have gone by. Studies show that roughly half or more of those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol also suffer with some kind of disability, often one that comes about thanks to the addiction problem. Not to mention that addiction by itself, whether disability itself is involved or not, is a major crisis:
• Out of 16.6 million people with alcoholism, 2.6 million were also dependent on an illicit substance or drug of some kind. This was in 2010, and it is now thought that about four million Americans are addicted to both drugs and alcohol. If this is the case indeed, then the nation really does have a problem on its hands because these four million will be the most difficult to help and rehabilitate once and for all, especially if they have disabilities too.
• The majority of youths of the age of 12 to 17 do not perceive a great risk from smoking marijuana by any means at all. This is definitely the truth though as more and more individuals who smoke marijuana end up getting addicted to other drugs and substances that are actually a lot more concerning than marijuana is. A lot of people with disabilities will use and abuse pills too, which are more dangerous and deadly than marijuana is.
• People with disabilities tend to abuse synthetic drugs to help them forget about their dismal living conditions. There were well over 20,000 ecstasy-related emergency room visits in the year of 2011, with people with disabilities making a significant percentage of that figure. There were over a full 1.8 million Americans 12 or older who used a hallucinogen or inhalant for the first time (1.1 million among hallucinogens). This is a big problem for teens and young adults, and these ones often die from such substance abuses, as do older adults who are disabled.
• 22.7 million people (as of 2007) have reported using LSD in their lifetime, a common drug for older Americans with handicaps. This was the most common drug in the 1960s and 1970s, and it is now slowly but surely making a comeback too. There are approximately 5,000 LSD-related emergency room visits every single year.
• Nearly 300,000 Americans received treatment for hallucinogens in the year of 2011. Between the years of 2002 and 2006, over a half million of teens aged 12 to 17 had used inhalants in one way or another to accomplish some means or methods.
Rehabilitation: Confronting Both Disability and Addiction
Whether someone is disabled or not, if one is suffering with a drug or alcohol addiction of any kind, then rehabilitation is the answer to addressing and resolving the crisis issue once and for all. This is needed now more than ever and it really is an important and necessary aspect of life and living. In fact, after extensive research on the subject, this was discovered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) had this to say about the potential fatality and curability of addiction:
“The crisis when it comes to drug and alcohol addiction is actually the only kind of disease in the United States that is almost guaranteed to be fatal if it is not treated, but is one-hundred percent curable in all cases. This means that if someone continues to be an addict and does not seek to do something about it he or she will probably die from it. However, quite literally addiction can be addressed and cured in anyone who is addicted with the right rehabilitation program. Hence the, ’90% chance of fatality if no treatment, 100%o of sobriety if treated’ rule.”
So we know from that that, disability or no disability, rehab is needed and wanted now more than ever for those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. The great thing about inpatient rehabilitation is that it can provide those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol with a resolution for addiction that includes both detoxification and rehabilitation in such a way that not only completely addresses and eradicates the actual drug problem, but that also completely resolves the emotional and the mental crisis of addiction too. Finally, inpatient rehabilitation accomplishes this while all still being able to help the person and cure him or her from addiction while taking into account the person’s disability and making arrangements for that and even trying to help the person with it if that is possible. All in all, inpatient rehabilitation is the answer and the salvation that disabled addicts need and want.