Addiction and Chronic Disease: What’s the Connection and How Can I Get Help?
Dominic NicosiaMarch 1, 2022
Addiction and chronic disease are closely linked in a variety of ways. Drugs and alcohol impact every part of the body, including the heart, central nervous system, brain, stomach, liver, kidneys, and more. The risk of chronic disease is increased the longer and more often you or your loved one abuse drugs or alcohol.
It’s common to think that all your health problems are resolved when and if you decide to get treatment and enter recovery, but the reality is prolonged and untreated substance abuse can lead to chronic health issues long after you have stopped using.
The exact level of risk for addiction-related chronic disease varies based on how long and how often you drink or use drugs, as well as the way you ingest them (snorting, shooting, swallowing, etc.). If you or your loved one are struggling, it’s critical that you get help now to minimize the risk of long-term health issues.
Here are just a few ways that different types of substance use can lead to chronic disease and what you can do to get help.
Heroin Addiction and Chronic Disease
There are few, if any, parts of the body that are unharmed by prolonged heroin use. The drug has been linked to high rates of multiple chronic diseases, including but not limited to hepatitis, heart and lung disease, collapsed veins, blood disorder, HIV/AIDS, and more. Heroin use can also lead to skin disease, gastrointestinal and digestive issues, and other conditions that, while not fatal, can severely impact quality of life and everyday comfort. Those who abuse prescription opioids also face an increased risk of these chronic health issues.
Cocaine and Chronic Disease
Cocaine has a faster and more aggressive impact on the heart than many other illicit drugs. It also severely impacts the central nervous system and can lead to cognitive issues like paranoia and severe anxiety disorder. Cocaine has been linked to various types of heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, brain damage, and more. Long-term cocaine use can also lead to collapsed nostrils, stroke, bowel disease, and sexual dysfunction.
Alcohol and Chronic Disease
The physical and psychological risks of alcohol addiction are practically too many to list. To name a few, alcoholism can lead to serious liver disease, heart attack, stroke, stomach issues, brain damage, and various types of cancer. These issues can often require lifetime management long after a person stops drinking and can even be fatal.
Meth and Chronic Disease
Methamphetamine addiction, whether it’s prescription Desoxyn® or illegally manufactured crystal meth, can create severe central nervous system dysfunction. It also severely increases the risk of cardiac arrest, serious dental issues, stroke, brain damage, paranoia, anxiety, and more. The risk of chronic disease associated with meth addiction may also be compounded by the chemicals that are often used to “cut” illegal supplies to make them cheaper and more potent during the refining process. These chemicals often include things like brake fluid, antifreeze, and ammonia.
Addiction IS A Disease
It’s easy to think of alcohol or drug addiction as a social or psychological problem. It’s actually a complex chronic disease of the brain that leads to a variety of other health issues that require their own level of specialized care. Unfortunately, many who attempt recovery don’t get the necessary medical treatment to achieve balanced overall health. The pain and sickness of these untreated issues can sometimes lead to relapse.
Recovery Unplugged offers comprehensive medical care for you or your loved one’s addiction symptoms and all chronic health conditions related to your substance use. Get the help you need today for the long-term health issues associated with your addiction. We’re in-network with most major insurance companies and offer locations across the country. Call us today to start your treatment and reclaim your physical and mental health.
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