Physical Disability and Addiction

Physical Disability and AddictionPeople with physical disabilities may be very successful at drawing attention away from their disabilities and putting their focus, and everyone else’s, squarely on their talents and abilities. Nonetheless, the disability can cause daily physical pain, social struggles and logistical challenges. The pain and challenges caused by a physical disability may require prescription medication, the use of which can lead to addiction. California residents struggling with addiction and disability should seek specialized rehabilitation treatment.

Physical Disability’s Mental Toll on California Residents

Although the disability is physical, daily life for California residents with disabilities can have both mental and emotional effects. Some of these effects include:

  • Fighting for accommodation – Despite legal protections, it can be difficult to secure accommodations needed to live and work alongside everyone else.
  • Grief – Disability has, as its cause, a loss. Just as the loss of a loved one can cause despair, so can the loss of ability.
  • Isolation – If an individual’s disability limits his mobility, it may make socializing and interacting with others more difficult, which can lead to loneliness and social isolation.

These painful mental states can lead to depression or other mood disorders. Depression is a risk factor for addiction because an attempt to self-medicate can initiate a drug habit that can get out of control.

Balancing Pain Management and Opioid Addiction Recovery

Chronic pain is all too often the unwanted companion of physical disabilities. Unfortunately, the need to manage this pain can come into conflict with the needs of an opioid addict in recovery. But despite their history of addiction, all individuals are entitled to effective management of chronic pain.

Despite the challenges, there are strategies doctors can use to limit pain even while preventing a relapse of the patient’s addiction. In fact, prescribing too little pain medication can lead to relapse just like prescribing too much. Someone with a history of painkiller abuse is also likely accustomed to getting drugs without a prescription. Pain insufficiently controlled by the doctor can lead the patient back to old habits of self-medication and trigger a relapse.

Doctors have found many concrete steps to take that can help find the right balance of painkiller medication.

Sticking close to what doctors call the “minimum effective dose” can help California residents with disabilities avoid developing an addiction, or avoid a relapse while in recovery. Because tolerance builds for opioid drugs over time, this dose continually increases. Finding this perfect balance as it moves can be done by periodically backing off the dose to a level where the pain begins to re-emerge.

Identifying Drug-Seeking Behavior in California Residents

Some California residents with disabilities may begin to engage in drug-seeking behaviors, which is often a precursor to dependence and addiction. Some examples of that behavior can include:

  • Asking for specific drugs by name
  • Skipping recommendations that do not include drugs
  • Resisting other measures taken by the physician to help prevent relapse

Learning to distinguish drug-seeking behavior from honest pain reports is important for doctors who want to give their patients the best care.

Find Out More about Addiction and Physical Disability

If you or someone you know has an addiction complicated by physical disability, call our 24 hour helpline to learn more about options for treatment. The call is toll free.

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