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Drug and alcohol problems often lead to disability claims

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It's easy to see how an illness or an injury can lead to drug or alcohol abuse. It is also not uncommon for alcohol or substance abuse to give rise to a legitimate disability claim. If you're hurting, depressed, anxious, or recovering from an injury, it's not unusual to turn to self-medicating through alcohol and other substances. Many conditions, such as pain syndromes, worsen when opioids or alcohol become part of the picture. When this happens, it can lead to an inability to work in your occupation or in any occupation, and you may be entitled to disability benefits.

The link between disabilities and substance abuse

Approximately 4.7 million Americans with disabilities have substance abuse issues, according to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Every year, 1.5 million of those adults may require treatment for substance abuse.

How bad is this problem? People who are disabled are much more likely to have problems with substance abuse than the rest of the U.S. population. Two or four times more likely, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The exact percentage of disabled substance abusers varies according to the condition. Drinking is very common among people with spinal cord damage, amputations and blindness. Studies also show that people with rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis are twice as likely to have addiction problems as non-disabled people.

It's estimated that as many as half of those with an orthopedic disability, spinal cord injury, amputation or vision impairment can be classified as heavy drinkers. Additionally, arthritis sufferers and those with multiple sclerosis have high rates of drug and alcohol abuse -- nearly double the rate of the general population.

Insurance denials make the problems worse

You can add insurance denials to this list of problems too. Many people do not know that drug and alcohol addiction is a very serious health condition that may give rise to a disability claim. Some insurance companies will try to use your alcohol or addiction issues against you. This is why it is so important to seek representation if you have a disability claim stemming from alcohol or addiction issues, or if you have experienced a denial of benefits based on alcohol or substance abuse.

How to fight back

You can fight back against denials. Drug and alcohol addiction is in epidemic proportions across the United States, especially opioid abuse. Do not overlook disability insurance benefits that are meant to provide peace of mind in the event of a disability that results from substance abuse.

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