Saturday December 10th 2016

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Addiction treatment for the deaf

Special Populations

Studies have shown that disabled individuals are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. This holds true for deaf and hard of hearing individuals as well. While part of this can be attributed to the stresses of living with such a disability, instances of substance abuse may also be higher in the deaf community because they may not have access to suitable substance abuse prevention programs.

So, where can you find addiction treatment if you are hard of hearing?  We review addiction treatment programs for the deaf, and invite your questions about treatment at the end.

The deaf and addiction treatment

Communicating with individuals who aren’t hearing impaired can be frustrating; addiction treatment is no exception. Unfortunately, although a higher percentage of deaf individuals suffer from substance abuse disorders, they are also much less likely to seek treatment. This special population only has a handful of options when considering addiction treatment.  This includes:

American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter for traditional treatment – The right ASL interpreter is worth their weight in gold. An interpreter can be used during traditional addiction treatment, but this is not often a viable solution. First, an interpreter may not always be available when needed during treatment. Needing an interpreter may also make a deaf person feel like an outcast or hindrance during residential or group treatment, making them less likely to seek or continue treatment.

Addiction treatment specifically for the hearing impaired – This is probably one of the best addiction treatment options anyone hard of hearing. These types of programs use visual communication methods for treatment. This can include videos and literature. ASL proficient addiction specialists and addiction specialists who are sympathetic to the needs of the hearing impaired will also be available at these types of treatment programs. Unfortunately, addiction treatment specifically for the hearing impaired can be difficult to find for some, as it’s not available in all areas of the country.

Deaf drug addiction treatment

Addiction treatment for the hearing impaired obviously requires special services, particularly alternative communication methods. Deaf drug addiction treatment, though, generally includes the same basic steps and components as traditional drug addiction treatment, starting with an assessment.  The basic steps to any quality addiction treatment program are:

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STEP 1: Assessment

Before a drug addiction treatment program can be started, a deaf person must undergo an evaluation and assessment. During this first step, he or she will be evaluated by an experienced addiction specialist, preferably one that is fluent in ASL.  Addiction specialists include licensed psychologists, medical doctors, or psychiatrists.  After assessment, specialists can create a recommended plan for treatment.

STEP 2: Detox

Addicted individuals are often encouraged to go through a detox program prior to entering a treatment program. This step greatly reduced the chances of a relapse, and also allows medical professionals to supervise them during the withdrawal process. In many cases, medical professionals may be able to administer medication in order to relieve uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

STEP 3: Addiction treatment

Addiction treatment includes behavioral, psychological, and pharmaceutical therapies.  Each is provided as needed as part of an individual addiction treatment plan.  The actual drug addiction treatment is often the hardest part for addicted individuals. It’s a long difficult process, and not being able to communicate well makes this even harder. Deaf individuals must find an addiction treatment program that’s specifically designed for the hearing impaired. Not only do these programs typically use visual communication methods, such as ASL, but they also enable individuals to be surrounded by their peers, who understand their point of view.

STEP 4: Treatment aftercare

Support and aftercare is an imperative part of deaf drug addiction treatment. Without a strong support system and continued therapy after treatment, a deaf person is much more likely to relapse and continue using drugs or drinking. Deaf drug addiction treatment aftercare generally involves weekly therapy sessions and possibly a stay in a halfway house.

Deaf addiction treatment barriers

Not surprisingly, deaf individuals face a number of addiction treatment barriers. The biggest addiction treatment for the hearing impaired is the feeling of being unable to effectively communicate with others. The deaf often rely on visual communication, and most traditional addiction treatment facilities are unable to accommodate this need. Common deaf addiction treatment barriers are listed below.

  • Attitude and perceived stigma surrounding addiction treatment
  • Career or family responsibilities
  • Communication problems when looking for treatment
  • Financial difficulties and lack of insurance
  • Inability to find addiction treatment that caters to the hearing impaired

Addicted deaf individuals

Where can you go to find addiction treatment?  Common starting points include:

1. Your doctor. The most common place that deaf individuals can turn to is their own doctors. Most medical doctors and mental health professionals are able to diagnose substance abuse disorders. They can also typically help them find appropriate treatment.

2. State health organizations or disability offices. Organizations that cater to deaf and other individuals with disabilities are also a good place for hearing impaired individuals to turn to when they need addiction treatment. These organizations can often find addicted deaf individuals suitable treatment. The same is true for state health organizations and disability offices.

3. SAMHSA – The Substance Abuse and mental Health Services Administration website also has a substance abuse treatment facility locator that can be used to find treatment programs. After entering the location, addicted deaf individuals can filter the search results to only facilities offering assistance for the hearing impaired.

Deaf addiction questions

If you or a loved one is hearing impaired and in need of addiction treatment, we’re here to help. Simply leave your comments or questions on the comments section below. We’ll get back to as soon as possible with our reply and will help point you in the right direction.

Reference Sources: MNCD Deaf: Providing Substance Abuse Treatment to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Clients
NIH: Videos Help Treat Deaf People
OASAS: General Information
U.S.D. Health & Human Services
SAMHSA: Find Facilities Near You

Leave a Reply

20 Responses to “Addiction treatment for the deaf
Michelle
3:30 am May 20th, 2015

My daughter is hard of hearing she knows sign language and reads lips we are trying to find inpatient treatment for her drug addiction. She lives in kent Washington and would like to find a place to start treatment close to here. She would like to find a place that works with the hard of hearing. Are you aware of any in this area ? Thank you

12:52 pm May 22nd, 2015

Hellp Michelle. Try this page: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/locator?sAddr=Kent%2C+WA%2C+United+States&submit=Go Click on the “Substance Abuse” section in the upper right to constrict your search. You can select treatment needs, payment options, and most importantly – find several facilities in the area that offer services for the hearing impaired. I hope this helps.

Cally
1:04 am August 26th, 2015

My deaf sister is physically dependent on prescription pain medication. She is definitely addicted as she does not always take the medicine as prescribed and has drug seeking behavior, visiting the ER to get pain medication when she runs out way too early. She really needs help and I believe she is willing. She has insurance but we aren’t sure what’s available for the deaf community. We live in Maryland, but if her insurance will cover it she could go anyway. Please help us. Please email some information.

2:23 pm September 8th, 2015

Hello Cally. I was able to find this addiction treatment option in Maryland aimed at treating the deaf http://treatment-facilities.healthgrove.com/l/17351/Deaf-Addiction-Services-at-Maryland. I hope this helps your search and I wish your sister a successful recovery.

Missy
1:14 am October 9th, 2015

My brother is currently undergoing a medical detox for alcoholism. He’s on day 3 and his drs say he is a very severe case. He’s in a hospital in Harrisburg, PA and he’s very frustrated with the language barrier. He’s deaf, communicates via ASL and does not read lips. I’m trying to find an inpatient rehab facility specializing in deaf substance abuse in the PA area. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

2:39 pm November 4th, 2015

Hi Missy. Click this link to search SAMHSA’s treatment locator. I already constricted the search for PA only, but you can proceed to enter data about your area or living and type of treatment you are searching for. There are separate graphs that allow you to select the type of addiction condition, health insurance, payment options that fit your needs as well as to find addiction treatment for the hearing impaired. I hope this helps: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/TreatmentLocator/faces/addressSearch.jspx?state=PA

Brigitte
7:11 am March 4th, 2016

I am the mother of an 18 year old. My daughter is profoundly deaf and communicates through ASL. She began smoking pot at the age of 13 and was addicted to meth by the age of 16. She has used any and every drug there is that’s out there. She has overdosed on several occasions. We have had her in a youth stabilization program, PCHAD, and AADAC. Due to her being deaf she was offered minimal assistance at these programs as there is not enough funding in place for interpretors. She has depression and has been suicidal and has been cutting herself since she was 12. She has seen psychologists but did not continue for any length of time due to having an interpretor and did not find it helpful. I am in desperate need of help for my daughter. We live in Edmonton Alberta Canada

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:25 pm March 11th, 2016

Hi Brigitte. There is a lot going on for you. I did some research on organizations for deaf people in Canada, here’s the list:
1. Canadian Hearing Society- http://www.chs.ca/
2. Canadian Organizations for Deaf/Blind People: http://www.deafblind.com/canada.html
3. Healthy Canadians: http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/healthy-living-vie-saine/substance-abuse-toxicomanie/help-aide/get-help-obtenir-aide-eng.php
4. Mental Health Helpline- http://www.mentalhealthhelpline.ca/Directory/Program/7425
Hope this helps.

Susan
3:04 am April 18th, 2016

Need a inpatient drug facility for my brother who is hard of hearing. Any where in central florida.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:40 pm April 18th, 2016

Hi Susan. Call the helpline number on the site to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant who can help you find a suitable treatment program for your brother. Also, you can search on SAMHSA’s treatment locator:
https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/TreatmentLocator/faces/servicesSearch.jspx

James
1:24 pm May 26th, 2016

Looking to help my grandson use of marijuana ,last 6 months, its seems to be getting worse. He lives in the Jacksonville area near the isd campus.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
5:11 pm June 1st, 2016

Hi James. Contact our trusted treatment consultant to learn more about your grandson’s treatment options. The number is displayed on the website. Also, you may search treatment facility on SAMHSA’s treatment locator:
https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/TreatmentLocator/faces/servicesSearch.jspx

Carmen
12:36 am June 5th, 2016

Good Evening,
My husband is an addict and has been seeking help on and off, but it has been hard to find a place that is inclusive for the deaf. I’d like to find a place that is faith based (Christian) and has an inpatient program. We live in South Florida, but it off state is fine. Can you recommend a place?

Jenna
8:10 am June 5th, 2016

Hi, this is jenna and i am profoundly deaf. i really need help before its too late.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
11:58 am June 10th, 2016

Hi Carmen. You may call the number you see on the website to speak with a trusted treatment consultant who can help your husband find a treatment program that fits his needs.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
12:06 pm June 10th, 2016

Hi Jenna. If you have questions about addiction treatment and your options, you may start your search on SAMHSA’s treatment locator:

https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/TreatmentLocator/faces/servicesSearch.jspx

Greg
8:49 pm September 9th, 2016

My love of my life is close to giving up she has been to so many treatment centers but needs long term after care living facilities with others like herself that can truly understand what she is going through.Every person in her family I included are severe addicts.She thinks no such place exists and I know personally how hard it is to find the right treatment center that isn’t a joke.please I need information to get her help before it is too late! She is a very special person. We live in New Bern North Carolina. Thank you

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:52 pm September 15th, 2016

Hi Greg. Call the helpline displayed on our website to speak with a trusted treatment consultant.

Pansy
7:46 pm October 13th, 2016

We are seeking an inpatient substance abuse treatment program in New York City or New York State as soon as possible for a client who is deaf. Thank you.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
11:59 am October 18th, 2016

Hi Pansy. I suggest that that you start your search on SAMSA’ treatment locator:
https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/locator?sAddr=New+York%2C+NY%2C+United+States&submit=Go
Moreover, you may call the number displayed on the website to speak with a trusted treatment consultant.

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