A disability is when a person’s mind or body prevents them from taking part in one or more major activities. When disabilities worsen over time or stop you from an activity you enjoyed, it can lead to severe mental health symptoms and using drugs or alcohol to cope. If you have a disability, it is important to be aware of your mental illness or substance abuse symptoms so that you know when it is time to get help. 

Mental Illness and People with Disabilities

Having a disability can take a toll on your mental health when you see your peers being able to do things that you no longer can do. Disabilities have a way of making you feel “different” which can leave you feeling alone and ostracized. It can also be depressing when you can no longer do something that you have enjoyed in the past. This can lead to developing anxiety and depression. Without the proper support for your mental health, your symptoms will grow worse.

Substance Abuse and People with Disabilities

Disabilities may not just affect your mental health, but make you feel like taking drugs to help you cope. A person with a disability may want to be socially accepted to better fit in with their peers and they use drugs or alcohol to have a social life like everyone else. Others who feel lonely or isolated as a result of their disability may also be taking drugs as a means of escape. Drugs and alcohol can also lead to developing a disability if you suffered a head injury or became paralyzed as a result of drunk driving. Problems may spiral out of control if you do not seek treatment for substance abuse and mental illness. 

Pain Medication Addiction and People with Disabilities

People with disabilities tend to take pain medication to ease the symptoms, leading to taking more than what is being prescribed to achieve a high. While prescription painkillers may work well, they can also be easily abused. When the prescription runs out, you may be thinking of turning to cheaper and more available substances like heroin. A fact that can no longer be ignored is that the disability community risks vulnerability to addiction. By seeking treatment for substance abuse disorder and mental illness, you will be in more control of your disability and learn how to handle it in healthy ways.


Having a disability can be a lot to handle and present a lot of challenges. You will have even more on your plate if you develop an addiction or mental illness on top of those challenges. While a disability may be beyond your control, you always have control with treatment. At Alta Loma, we understand your struggles and we are here to help you in the best way we can for addiction and mental illness challenges. We can provide you individualized therapy, 12-step programs, coping skills education, and more. Please call us at (866) 457-3843 to learn more.