Addiction Treatment for the Disabled

Whether physical or mental, having a disability and an addiction can be overwhelming. A survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse has shown that more than 20 million people in the country suffer from some sort of addiction. Some of these people also have a physical or mental disability that makes it harder for them to reach out for the necessary help to overcome their addiction.

While there are treatment options available for those with physical or mental disabilities who are seeking addiction abuse assistance, not all centers are equipped to handle certain disabilities, such as:

  • People who are blind or deaf or don’t speak
  • People who use wheelchairs
  • People who require special programs
  • People with intellectual delay issues or mental disorders

The Correlation Between Disabilities and Substance Use Disorder

Studies have suggested a considerable percentage of the disabled population may also have substance use disorders (SUDs).

According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, an organization that focuses on many paralysis disabilities, substance use disorder is a problem in the disabled community. The specific numbers provide more insight into this community and substance use disorder:

  • Over 50 percent of people who have a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or mental illness also abuse drugs or alcohol.
  • Over 4.5 million people who have disabilities have a co-occurring substance use disorder disorder that goes untreated.
  • People with multiple sclerosis (MS), deafness, arthritis, and other diseases and conditions have substance use disorder rates that are twice as high as the general population.

People with chronic pain are more likely to abuse prescription pain medications than those who do not have such pain.

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Addiction Treatment Options for Those with Disabilities

There are addiction treatment options for those with disabilities. It is important to note that while not every facility is able to accommodate these individuals, there are other facilities offering help specifically to people with special needs.

People with disabilities often face a series of barriers when they seek help for their addiction. Some feel that physical challenges might prevent them from staying in a center, while others fear the costs of seeking help from a treatment center. Additional limitations might be hard to overcome even for people who have the money to go to a rehab facility.

Sometimes, a person with a mental illness may not realize that they have an underlying mental health condition. This situation would require additional services and support within the facility, and not all facilities are able to provide them.

Depending on the specific needs of the clients, there are addiction treatment centers that can provide the assistance people need. Speaking with our representatives can help you locate the best treatment center that provides the right accommodations.

Concerns When Finding a Rehab

Sometimes, people who seek help from rehab for their substance or alcohol abuse disorder may have concerns relating to their disabilities.

If people have physical disabilities that limit their mobility, they might be worried about accessibility at rehab centers. If the centers do not have ramps that provide wheelchair access or wide enough hallways, clients may feel that they are missing out on the treatment they truly need.

Additionally, someone who is deaf or blind may have communication issues. If centers or programs do not have people who are able to provide sign language services or offer Braille products, people may have barriers to obtaining the proper treatment.

Studies have found that over half of the substance use disorder facilities operating in the United States have turned down potential clients because the facilities were not accessible. The numbers have improved since the assessment has been performed, but they don’t account for all of the centers that could provide necessary assistance.

People with cognitive disabilities or mental disabilities may need specialized programs that address both their mental conditions and their addictions. Not all rehab facilities have such specialized programs. The programs help individuals receive the most from treatment by offering additional support services.

Finding a Disabled-Friendly Drug Rehab

There are drug and alcohol treatment rehabs that are disability-friendly. Whether you have a mental or physical disability, finding the essential help needed to overcome your addiction is important. People who have mental disorders and addictions should have both conditions examined and treated.

Finding the right treatment center depends on the specific disabilities that people have and the specific help they need. Accessibility, therapy, comprehension checks, specialized staff members, and integrated substance use disorder programs are all necessities for people with disabilities who are seeking help for drug or alcohol addiction.

It may be easier to find rehabs that accept disabled clients if you know how to look. Help should not be difficult to find if you have a substance use disorder disorder as well as a mental or physical disability.

We can help you find programs for people who require specialized disability-friendly drug rehab. Contact us today and we can recommend quality programs that offer accessibility. We can help you find counseling and other treatment for people with mental disabilities and substance use disorder issues.


  • – Substance Use Disorders in People With Physical and Sensory Disabilities
  • – Substance Use Disorder among Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
  • – Accessibility of Addiction Treatment: Results from a National Survey of Outpatient Substance Use Disorder Treatment Organizations
  • – Recent trends in substance use disorder among persons with disabilities compared to that of persons without disabilities.
  • – Nationwide Trends

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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