The Whole Package: Dealing with Health Issues from Opioid Addiction

By the time opioid addiction takes of us or the people we love, there is a five-alarm urgency to get into treatment and immediately start reversing the course of this deadly and debilitating illness. All we can think about is getting ourselves or the people we care about healthy enough to sustain sobriety and overcome the initial chemical dependency aspect of addiction. Many, if not most of us, however, experience significant long-term health issues related to our years of prolonged and untreated substance abuse. Part of any long-term addiction recovery plan should be a mechanism to address physical and behavioral health ramifications of the disease.

Common Physical Health Issues from Opioid Abuse

It’s common for sufferers of SUD to experience a wide range of residual physical health issues from opioid addiction. Immediate biological impact of substance abuse combined with the lifestyle factors that often accompany the disease create an increased risk for long-term medical conditions, like HIV hypertension, heart disease, hepatitis C and a range of others. These conditions should be managed by an addiction-trained doctor who is familiar with the symptomology of opioid abuse and how it relates to these issues. If possible, care should be coordinated patents’ initial treatment provider to give clinicians a clear idea of substance use history and possible risks.

Common Behavioral Health Issues from Opioid Abuse

Addiction is usually closely linked with co-occurring mental health issues. Whether it’s the cause or result of the disease, SUD sufferers may experience a variety of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD and more. Effective treatment of these conditions requires expert ongoing psychiatric counseling. Part of any patient’s post-treatment aftercare plan should be making sure they have referral information for mental health professionals who are trained in addiction and substance abuse. Treatment for these conditions may be a lifelong endeavor and may requires heightened participation over time; however, it can help patients live independently and improve their overall quality of life.

Thousands of Americans live each day with untreated physical and psychological health issues from opioid addiction. The difference between a life of independence and a threat to themselves or others, is quality and comprehensive treatment.