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Information on Drug Rehab with ASL for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 May 2024
  • What You'll Learn

Finding a drug rehab for the hearing impaired may be difficult because the options are limited. However, many drug rehab programs offer American Sign Language, interpreters, and other resources. There is help available for those who are hearing impaired and addicted to drugs or alcohol. Below, you can use the filter and choose by state to find addiction services with ASL or assistance for the hearing impaired options.

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List of Drug Rehabs with ASL or Assistance for the Hearing Impaired

Here is access to our entire drug rehabilitation database with American Sign Language or assistance for the deaf or hard of hearing. Please select a state. If you need help locating the right treatment for you, do not hesitate to contact one of our treatment specialists.

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  • When is drug rehab for the hearing impaired the best option?

    As mentioned above, people under the age of 50 who are deaf or hearing impaired are at an increased risk of developing an addiction. For example, deaf individuals have twice the rate of addiction involving opioids and are more likely to misuse alcohol and other drugs. Adults under the age of 35 with hearing loss are 2.5 times more likely to have a pain medication addiction. When problems are visible, and family friends notice this, it is time to intervene and get help. However, communication barriers prevent many of the deaf and hearing-impaired from entering drug rehab programs. Overall, the problems with substance abuse and addiction are made much worse because of the disability and the motivating reasons to abuse drugs or alcohol.

    Some of the risk factors for someone with a sensory or physical disability include pain, depression, social isolation, and chronic medical problems. Other risk factors include unemployment, limited education, enabling caregivers, a history of physical or sexual abuse, low socioeconomic level, and little exposure to drug education and prevention. The most commonly abused drugs within the deaf and hard of hearing community are alcohol, pain medication, and marijuana. Everyone has relatively easy access to alcohol, and people use it to manage anxiety and frustration. Pain medication is commonly prescribed to people with disabilities, increasing the risk of dependence and addiction. Marijuana is widely accepted and legal in some states, while also commonly used to manage anxiety and frustration.

    According to a journal article titled Alcohol and Drug Use Among Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals, it says—’Overall, individuals with disabilities report higher rates of alcohol and drug use disorder than nondisabled individuals, with SUD rates approximately double to the general population.’ Those are deaf and hard of hearing face an increased risk because of limited communication with hearing parents, reduced opportunities for family discussion regarding substance use, isolation, and a desire to fit in with hearing peers, along with the lack of prevention and education materials about drugs and alcohol.

    Typically, substance abuse treatment is the best option for someone when they have faced a history of abuse in the family or struggle with psychological disturbances created by substance abuse. Some of the factors they face involve isolation because of the communication barrier. There is a common misconception that most people deaf and hard of hearing integrate into society seamlessly and have no problem communicating, which is not always the case. There are also problems with low self-esteem, which can be particularly high among those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Isolation and low-self esteem is a terrible combination. Problems with depression and anxiety are common, which leads to substance abuse.

    Additionally, there are numerous reported cases of trauma and people with disabilities being a victim to physical, mental, and sexual abuse. For example, abuse includes intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and crime victimization. Deaf people are often vulnerable to this kind of mistreatment because of deprivation of early language development. Other problems involve conflicts within the family regarding education and communication methods, poor parental involvement, and social isolation. People with disabilities have a much more difficult time dealing with trauma and asking for help.

    Many treatment programs incorporate American Sign Language, and like anyone else struggling with addiction, once family and friends notice the signs, it is time to intervene. However, when searching for treatment programs, the facility must offer the right communication options.

  • How does substance use treatment programs for the hearing impaired operate?

    The rehabilitation and treatment approach is the same as anywhere else, but the communication methods are different. Substance abuse treatment programs for the deaf and hearing-impaired utilize American Sign Language with interpreters and assistive listening devices. For example, the programs may incorporate various manuals, videotapes, DVDs, workbooks, and guides that are signed and open captioned. Interpreters help with communication during group counseling and individual counseling sessions. Assistive listening devices are used to help those who are hard of hearing with the goal that ensures communication flows easily.

    The first step with rehabilitation is the evaluation or assessment in which information about the client is gathered. For example, the assessment includes data on the client’s medical background, social history, drug history, along with a clinical assessment and a communication assessment. The communication assessment is essential because it helps profile a client’s communication needs and facilitates the provision of treatment and support using the client’s preferred method of communication. The communication process for someone that is deaf or hearing impaired contributes to the outcome of treatment.

    Following the assessment, the first step with rehabilitation is drug detox, and typically, the severity of withdrawal symptoms determines what detox is needed. There is a focus on communication during detox because it can be stressful managing withdrawal symptoms. Most substance abuse treatment centers have a detox program as part of the overall program. Detox would normally involve a medically supervised detox and withdrawal management or a conventional detox program. Medical detox would treat severe alcoholism, opioid addiction, and most forms of prescription drug addiction. Conventional detox usually manages street drug addiction. Detox should not be considered the only treatment approach because it will not adequately address underlying issues.

    Counseling and therapy models after detox are unique to the program and may include traditional approaches like 12-step or behavioral therapies. These therapies could be incorporated with non-traditional approaches such as holistic treatment. During counseling and therapy, American Sign Language is used with the help of interpreters or counselors. Also, visual aids and close captioning to help with the rehabilitation process. Following primary treatment should be aftercare support. The treatment center may arrange for the patient to join a 12-step group with a therapist fluent in ASL. Also, there are options for sober living where ASL is used to help with a slow integration back to society.

  • Want to know more?

    The questions from Addicted.org’s “Learn from our Experts” are answered by Michael Leach, CCMA. If you need further clarification on any of the questions above or have any other questions you can contact him directly at mike@addicted.org.