Homelessness and Addiction

Homelessness and AddictionThough not all addicts are homeless, a disproportionately high percentage of homeless people are addicted to drugs, alcohol or both. The relationship between homelessness and addiction is particularly tragic in that it subjects the most vulnerable members of a society to increased risk of injury, sickness and death. Public attitudes toward chronic homelessness remain negative, and in recent years options for indigent individuals have decreased, while their numbers have increased.

Mental Health and Addiction among the Homeless

A large number of homeless addicts also suffer from serious psychological disorders. Their addiction may be a result of attempts at self-medication of their mental condition. With the proper help many homeless individuals could return to a productive, healthy life. Proper help, however, can be nearly impossible for them to find. Many are so lost in their disease that they don’t even know they need help.

Poverty and Addiction

When a person of means suffers from schizophrenia, an anxiety disorder or a personality disorder, he or she has many options for treatment. A majority of shelter-secure addicts suffer from underlying psychological disorders, but medical and therapeutic care is available to them. In most cases this care is covered by insurance. The same cannot be said for the poor. People in poverty face many obstacles to treatment including the following:

  • Cultural prejudice
  • Lack of insurance
  • Lack of proper documentation or identification
  • Lack of transportation
  • Reduced services due to budget cutbacks
  • Schedule challenges
  • Insufficient supportive services

Poverty and addiction form a vicious cycle that keeps people trapped, but private and public treatment programs have shown remarkable success when given the resources to thoroughly treat homeless and addicted individuals.

Solutions to Homelessness and Addiction

Homeless advocates push for increased public funding of anti-homelessness initiatives and comprehensive addiction treatment for the poor. All of the issues faced by homeless addicts must be treated if long-term recovery is to be realized. Experts recommend the following services:

  • Medically supervised detox
  • Careful and respectful diagnosis and treatment of all co-occurring psychological disorders
  • Individual counseling and personal therapy customized for each patient’s unique needs
  • Support group dynamics for improved interpersonal connectivity
  • Education about the nature of addiction
  • Overall healthcare and instruction in improved personal care
  • Spiritual care, relaxation and stress management
  • Continued supportive services including job training, housing assistance, legal support and more

Where to Turn for Help with Addiction and Homelessness

If you are struggling with addiction and are homeless, or if you know someone who is, please call our toll-free helpline any time of day or night. Our addiction experts will be happy to answer any questions you may have about treatment options and will help you find the best recovery plan for your unique needs. We can even confirm insurance coverage or help with financial assistance exploration. Break the cycle of addiction and homelessness. Call today.

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