Research on Addictions among people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Definition of Addiction
According to the former head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health:
The consequence is virtually uncontrollable compulsive drug craving, seeking, and use that interferes with, if not destroys, an individual’s functioning in the family and in society. This medical condition demands formal treatment.”
– Alan Lashner, MD
“Understanding of substance abuse in the Deaf Community lags far behind that of the general hearing community,” according to Debra Guthmann and Katherine A. Sandberg from the Minnesota Chemical Dependency Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals. People who are hard of hearing may have the same knowledge as the general population, but are at very high risk due to the sense of loss and isolation that may occur with hearing loss.
Guthman and Sandberg site the few studies that have been done on this topic, concluding that substance abuse is a significant problem in the Deaf community. Since much of this research was done over 15 years ago, things may be worse today!
The Minnesota Chemical Dependency Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals (mncddeaf.org) has published a number of articles on the implications of substance abuse for people with hearing loss. Click here for a complete listing (www.mncddeaf.org/pages/articles.htm)