Are Alcoholism And Drug Addictions Disabilities?

Are Alcoholism And Drug Addictions Disabilities?

A disability is diagnosed as a physical or mental impairment that substantially reduces the ability to complete everyday tasks. A condition that also hinders participation and interaction is categorised as a disability.

Some people are born with disabilities, whilst others will experience a life-limiting condition, injury or degree of damage that results in impairment. People who abuse alcohol or drugs are in fact at higher risk of becoming disabled. Leading a life, under the influence of addictive and controlling substances can have a direct and indirect effect on wellbeing. Mental impairment and neurological damage are also common through substance abuse, posing as risks of mental disability.

The relationship between addiction and disability doesn’t stop there, as those who live with such impairments are at greater risk of abusing and becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol. Self-medicating through symptoms is common, as is illogical decision making.

Due to such a link, many people wonder ‘are alcoholism and drug addictions disabilities?’. Under the Equality Act 2010, substance use disorders aren’t categorised as a disability. Yet there is a thin line, as symptoms and consequences of addiction can result in disability, such as a co-occurring disorder.

Join us here at Rehab Clinics Group as we consider the relationship between addiction and disability. Fortunately, support for alcoholism and drug addictions is available, making both treatable and manageable conditions. Reach out for our support through addiction recovery.


What is disability?

People with disabilities can struggle through everyday life, never mind through major life activities. Due to physical and/or mental impairments, under the Disabilities Act, benefits, relief, and support are provided to avoid discrimination and to improve quality of life.

Common conditions which are diagnosed as a disability include:

  • Blindness
  • Cancer
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Kidney disease
  • Clinical depression
  • Autism
  • OCD
  • Dementia
  • Brain injury
  • Paralysis
  • Parkinson’s disease

A disability can result in substantial and long-term impacts. Someone who is disabled will struggle to physically operate or psychological function to average expectations. For example, someone with a disability may not be able to drive, may be incapable of working, or may even have difficulties whilst looking after themselves.

As alcoholism and drug addictions can also result in life-limiting symptoms and conditions, there is confusion between their diagnosis as a disability. Find out as we answer, ‘are alcoholism and drug addictions disabilities?’, along with considering the link between both.


Is addiction a disability?

Although addiction to illegal drugs, prescription drugs and alcohol can adversely affect the ability to operate on a day-to-day basis, neither is categorised as a disability. With this in mind, addicts will not be eligible for disability benefits and relief.

Whilst addiction itself isn’t a disability, impairment caused through alcoholism or substance abuse can be classed as a disability. For example, if drug or alcohol abuse causes a co-occurring mental health impairment, or results in organ failure, a disability may be diagnosed. This may also be the case if addiction severely impacts life, such as making it impossible to work due to an alcohol-induced injury.

For some addicts, if abuse has been caused by a pre-existing medical condition or through the abuse of prescription drugs, eligibility may be present for disability support. Yet as alcoholism and drug addictions aren’t disabilities in themselves, support will not be available. In the event of a co-occurring disorder or condition which is classed as a disability, eligible individuals will receive full relief under the Disabilities Act.


Whilst we’ve uncovered that substance addiction isn’t a disability, there is however a link between both.

People with disabilities are at higher risk of developing alcoholism or of relying on drugs. Whether that’s through the self-medication of prescriptions to manage side effects or the misuse of illicit drugs, addiction is a likely consequence.

For an addict, the risks of disability are greater than for the average person. Being intoxicated can result in irrational decision making, can reduce mobility and can cause many health problems. Over the course of an addiction, the risk of developing either a physical or psychological impairment or becoming injured is high.

Dual diagnosis is very common through alcoholism and drug addictions. Poor mental health can either trigger substance abuse, whilst psychological impairments are common results of alcohol and drug exposure. The link between disability and addiction is apparent, found to strengthen through co-existing symptoms and conditions.


Getting help for alcoholism and drug addictions

Disabilities are complex, are wide-ranging and will require specialist support to treat and manage symptoms. A similar approach is also led through addiction recovery, as alcoholism and drug addictions can transpire in many different ways.

Here at Rehab Clinics Group, we are equipped to support alcoholics and drug abusers through a rehabilitation process. With a group of drug and alcohol rehab clinics, we offer proven and personalised treatment programmes to promote recovery. Our programmes are also beneficial whilst improving health and wellbeing, ultimately reducing the risk of disability and co-existing conditions.

By completing a drug detox and/or alcohol detox, by completing our therapies which are both therapeutic and holistic, and by working through aftercare, addiction can be treated and managed.

As there is a link between disability and addiction, it is really important to seek professional and medical advice for all types of health concerns. Without intervention, heavy drinking or substance abuse may trigger a chronic health condition or may result in injury. The same goes for a disability, with addiction rates being greater for people with disabilities.

We are here to offer advice, treatment for addiction and mental health issues, and support throughout long-term recovery. Reach out for our confidential support, or for further insight into ‘are alcoholism and drug addictions disabilities?’.

If you are struggling with a disability and feel in the dark with your rights, we encourage you to gain greater awareness and accept support.