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Can abusing alcohol or illegal or prescription drugs harm my disability claim?

A: Abusing controlled substances is a sure-fire way to have your disability claim denied. When abused, certain controlled substances can produce mood/affective disorders and psychotic symptoms.


In a case where the claimant is suffering from major depressive disorder and an addiction to alcohol, a judge may say that if the claimant stops drinking and receives treatment for their addiction, they would no longer feel depressed and consequently, deny the claim.  


Similarly, in a case where the claimant suffers from a physical impairment like, a heart condition, and admittedly abuses cocaine, the judge may rule unfavorably on the basis that cocaine is damaging to the heart.


If you have filed a disability claim and you are abusing drugs or alcohol, it is important that you seek treatment for your addiction immediately. You will also need a letter from your treating physician or alcohol/drug treatment program stating that you are clean and the date you stopped using.