According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a recent study from Disability and Health Journal, indicates that people with disabilities are more likely than the general population to have issues with substance abuse and addiction.  Specifically, about 40 percent of the population that has some form of disability also struggles with drug or alcohol use.  This includes people who have sensory disabilities, such as being deaf or blind.

Often, the frustrations of these conditions can leave a person feeling depressed, anxious, and isolated from the rest of the world.  For many people with these emotional issues, drugs or alcohol can be a way to numb negative feelings or create a false feeling of euphoria.

Individuals with disabilities often develop substance use disorders to offset emotional and mental disorders, anxiety, low moods, and physical pain.

Patients with disabilities often use prescription medications to battle painful conditions, many of which have high potential for addiction.  Prescription opioids in particular are effective pain relievers, yet are highly addictive and can easily be abused.  People with disabilities are more likely to abuse opioids, but less likely to get the treatment they deserve.  Opioids are so highly addictive that even individuals that closely follow short-term prescriptions can quickly get hooked, a risk that only goes up, the longer the prescription is for.

Once a disabled individual develops an addiction to prescription opioids, they will often end up switching over to cheaper and more readily available drugs such as heroin when their prescription runs out.  This risk is heightened among the disabled, who are often under greater mobility and financial restrictions than the general population.  These factors, combined with the fact that opioid addiction is by far the most likely form of addiction to end in overdose and death, make disability and addiction to opioids a growing cause for concern.

The findings of this year’s World Drug Report fill in and further complicate the global picture of drug challenges, underscoring the need for broader international cooperation to advance balanced and integrated health and criminal justice responses to supply and demand.  Severity and complexity of World Drug Situation increasing prevention and treatment continue to fall short in many parts of the world, with only one in seven people with drug use disorders receiving treatment each year.


Role of Nutrition During Rehab

Counseling and therapy are key components of addiction treatment programs. They teach people in recovery healthy ways to cope with difficult emotions and behaviors. But it’s hard for a malnourished brain to learn. “We have to referred the person and get them nourished before the therapy can work, If their brain isn’t working, coping skills are going to go in one ear and out the other. If they’re eating properly, the psychiatrist can look at mood in a different way.

Proper nutrition and hydration are key to the substance abuse healing process because they help restore physical and mental health and improve the chance of recovery. Macro- and micronutrient deficiencies can lead to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and low energy, all of which can lead someone to start using drugs or alcohol or trigger a relapse.

Substance abuse is known to lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies that threaten physical and mental health, damage vital organs and the nervous system, and decrease immunity.4 Harmful lifestyles often are associated with addiction, such as poor eating patterns, lack of exercise, and changes in sleep patterns.

Studies found that visual impairment significantly affects nutritional status. The studies reported that visually impaired people have an abnormal body mass index (BMI); a higher prevalence of obesity and malnutrition was reported.

Visually impaired people find shopping, meal preparation, and restaurant use very difficult. It has been reported that many visually impaired people do not shop independently and prefer to purchase food online as it is convenient.

Their experiences in the marketplace would be improved by receiving adequate support and if they are not treated as a burden. The studies reported that visually impaired people prefer predictability, for example, that they had ‘learned shopping’. A trend of going to the same aisles for the same foods was safe. This was highlighted as a detriment in one study as the participants were unaware that healthier options existed, such as pre-prepared salad. If they knew these foods existed, they would make more informed food choices.

Concerning restaurant use, more than one study reported that visually impaired people felt like a burden. In describing their ideal restaurant experience, a repeatable finding was that they would like the menu to be read to them.

The duration of preparing meals (>2 hr) and the difficulty of boiling and cutting foods

Participants experienced blindness-related obstacles when shopping for food, preparing food, and eating in restaurants. Inaccessible materials and environments left participants with a diet lacking in variety and limited access to physical activity. Seven participants were overweight or obese, a finding that may be related to limited physical activity and higher-than-average restaurant use.

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