Being deaf can present a host of obstacles that makes engaging in everyday activities a challenge. However, what few consider when it comes to the challenges of the hearing impaired is the ability for them to get help when they are dealing with serious issues like addiction. While one out of every 10 people struggle with addiction, one out of every seven deaf people face the same problem. The biggest issue? Those who are deaf are often unable to access the same types of resources that are available to most. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome these common problems. If you are deaf and looking to seek help for your substance abuse, here are three tips for overcoming addiction when you’re sensory impaired.
1. Understand the triggers that may have led to your substance abuse (and how you can tackle them).
Life can be undeniably stressful, and there may be some stressors in your life that have pushed you towards using certain substances to cope. For example, let’s imagine that your hearing loss has been accompanied by a condition like tinnitus. Tinnitus is described as hearing sounds such as ringing, humming, or buzzing, and the symptoms of this condition can be severe (and can arise whether you are fully deaf or are gradually becoming deaf due to hearing loss). Being that these sounds tend to continue throughout the day and cause further problems in functionality, many individuals with tinnitus may develop anxiety and depression, using certain substances in order to better cope.
While you will need to treat the dependency you have upon a specific substance, you should also seek to treat the underlying issues that have led to using substances. Continuing with the example above, finding a treatment for tinnitus and learning coping mechanisms to deal with those symptoms can make it easier to deal with your recovery as you move forward. This way, you have fewer triggers that are calling you back to the substance you find comfort in.
2. Learn more about the common obstacles you may face and what you can do to overcome them.
As was stated above, those who are deaf tend to face more obstacles when seeking out recovery than those who are not. Some of these unique obstacles include:
- Difficulty finding resources where interpreters with formal training are available, causing barriers in terms of communication and cultural understanding
- Decreased family or social support due to stigma within the deaf and hard of hearing community
- A lack of understanding about addiction due to a lack of education about drug or alcohol addiction
- Trouble getting the same kind of beneficial experience that non-hearing-impaired individuals have access to
- They may have more severe diagnostic profiles than others seeking treatment
While these issues can seem daunting, better understanding these problems can help you find the right sources of support for your needs. Start with a local search like “Beverly Hills rehabilitation center“, for example, and go through each local resource, looking for those that actively provide ASL programs and can help you with your unique situation. Even if you don’t find the right resources immediately, there are options available. Help does exist!
3. Find the social support that you need to thrive in the recovery process
Battling addiction is hard, and it can become even more difficult if you feel like you are alone in the process. Beyond professional resources, you will need friends and family who are there to support you as you navigate your road to recovery. Let your friends and family in, tell them what you are going through, and allow them to provide you with the support that you need. They will help add to your strength as you find yourself going against the cravings you may feel to use again.
Being deaf or hard of hearing and dealing with a substance abuse problem can be a difficult combination. That said, like all challenges, this too can be overcome. If you are looking to stop using and start living the life that you desire, use the tips provided above to help you get the treatment that you deserve.