This is the fifth in a series of blogs here at onlinedrugclass.com looking at the problem of addiction facing disabled individuals. The first four blogs addressed the reasons why disabled people are more susceptible to addiction problems.
Now, we turn our attention to the dangers associated with addiction for disabled individuals. As reported in www.addictiontreatmentmagazine.com.
Dangers Of Untreated Substance Abuse In The Disabled
Whenever substance abuse and addiction go untreated, there are inevitable consequences – especially as time goes by.
Drug and alcohol abuse hampers proper medical care
Many disabling conditions require ongoing treatment. Individuals who are abusing substances are less likely to comply with medical advice regarding their disability. For instance, they may miss physical therapy appointments or neglect to take medication that requires adherence to a strict schedule. Unfortunately, not adhering to treatment can make their condition worse, creating even more problems for them.
Many substances interfere with prescription medications
Another danger involves the way substances, especially alcohol, interact with certain medications. For example, the combination of alcohol and certain antidepressants can impair a person’s alertness and ability to think clearly. Mixing opioid pain medications with alcohol is also extremely dangerous. When painkillers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine interact with alcohol, their sedating effect is intensified. This can cause respiration to become dangerously slow. Alcohol has been implicated in many overdoses involving opioid pain medications.
Drug or alcohol abuse worsens some conditions
For instance, a person with a spinal cord injury is already more vulnerable to chronic bladder infections. Alcohol use further irritates and inflames the bladder, as well as interferes with certain medications used to treat infections. Likewise, many substances impair coordination, making relatively normal movement even more difficult – if not impossible – in someone already hampered by mobility challenges .
Substance abuse itself creates additional problems
Living with a disability on its own is challenging. For example, depending on the severity of the condition, a person could have trouble finding work or staying employed. Alcohol and drug abuse compound the problem by further limiting physical and cognitive abilities. Getting drunk or high often results in tardiness, absenteeism, and reduced productivity, any of which can lead to termination.
Substance Abuse Treatment
Because of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse in those with disabilities, treatment is critical. Consult an addictions professional skilled at working with individuals who live with disabilities. He or she will develop a treatment plan, which will likely include outpatient or residential substance abuse and / or addiction treatment. It’s also important for the recovery plan to take the disabled addict’s physical needs into consideration. For example, a person utilizing a wheelchair may need special transportation to and from Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
Living with a disability has a serious impact on a person’s well-being, but the addition of alcohol or drug abuse further reduces quality of life. If you have concerns about substance abuse in yourself or a loved one, contact a drug and alcohol treatment center today. The sooner you get the help you need, the sooner you can get on the road to recovery.