Picture this: a world of beautiful color. The activity going on day by day, people talking around you. You can’t hear any of it, can’t hear anyone. You want to speak up, you want to be heard. That can feel impossible when you can’t hear others in the first place.
Life is hard enough to manage on your own when you can hear. The world is already infinitely more difficult if you’re deaf. Now tack on substance abuse. Now a real challenge is being faced here.
Addiction can eat away at you. Chip away at your self-worth, make it feel impossible to continue. The high of drugs or the relaxed feeling of alcohol can be all that someone looks forward to. It can be your best friend.
In a world that doesn’t seem aimed toward you at all, well, it can break barriers.
Substance abuse sets you apart from the rest.
Drug and alcohol abuse in deaf people can be hard to manage just because of one simple fact. There aren’t enough resources out there for deaf people. Having to figure out how to get help along with finding a way to communicate makes it too much for a lot of deaf people.
Most rehab centers are not set up to deal with deaf people. That can mean deaf people don’t feel necessarily welcome. It can be easy for them to slip through the cracks.
Most facilities that do have help for deaf people don’t have the full range. They might not have a full-time interpreter. Some accommodation is not enough accommodation.
If there is not a full-time interpreter, then deaf people can miss out on a lot of help. Centers are designed to cater to those who are not hearing impaired. This means they can become more and more irritated. It can be easy to give up at that point.
Interacting with people and doctors can help improve the support system for deaf people in rehab centers. Videos and other methods can be helpful, but human contact where they feel valued and important is ideal. That is the best method.
There are organizations out there designed to help deaf people specifically. There is Deaf Off Drugs and Alcohol (DODA). DODA is there to help with case management and has resources for deaf people. They will help with consultations and help them get the treatment they need
These resources are to connect people with hearing issues with people able to best help them. Such as with locally designed treatment centers or sending those to ones designed to help. DODA has many people who can use Sign Language and know all about deaf culture.
Treatment for deaf people with drug and alcohol abuse isn’t that much different than what we usually see. They need to be supported and respected the same as anyone. Communication barriers need to be broken down. They need to be treated as they are, as people.