Patients addicted to drugs often suffer from other illnesses and disorders as well. These are called comorbidities. In some cases, the respective illnesses played an important part in the onset of the drug addiction. In other cases, the addiction created the premises for the comorbidity.
When two health conditions coexist or affect the patient at the same time, they are called co-ocurring disorders. Mental disorders are the most common co-ocurring disorders in patients suffering from drug addiction.
Mental Disorders as Comorbidities to Drug Addiction
People suffering from mental health issues are more likely to become addicted to drugs than those im good mental health. At the same time, drug abuse can negatively affect a person’s mental health/ According to a SAMHSA Survey, nearly 8.5 million U.S. adults have at least one co-occurring disorder.
There are no specific combinations of drug use disorders and mental disorders defined as co-occurring disorders or comorbidities. Among the mental disorders diagnosed in drug addicted patients, the following are more common.
- Mood disorders and anxiety
- Major depressive disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Conduct disorders
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
Patients being treated for drug addiction and mental disorders often abuse other substances as well, namely:
Besides mental disorders, people addicted to drugs are at extremely high risk of contracting several chronic diseases or primary conditions. When these occur at the same time with drug addiction or other substance use disorders, they are generally referred to as comorbidities.
Common Comorbidities in Drug Addiction Cases
The most common comorbidities among patients treated for drug addiction are viral hepatitis, HIV, and AIDS. As a result, patients admitted in drug recovery centers usually undergo or receive referrals for hepatitis and HIV antibody testing.
Viral Hepatitis as Comorbidity to Drug Addiction
As the term suggests, viral hepatitis is a virus-induced inflammation of the liver. From the three hepatitis virus infection strains, hepatitis C is the most dangerous and the only one against which there is no vaccination available. It spreads easily among people addicted to injection drugs and, from them, to others.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, every person using injection drugs is likely to infect 20 other persons within only three years of contracting the infection themselves. Treatment for viral hepatitis can last for years, can be very costly, and involves difficult to follow diet and lifestyle restrictions.
HIV and AIDS as Comorbidities to Drug Addiction
These two comorbidities are closely related. Injection drug users are at high risk of contracting HIV (human imunodeficiency viruses). The virus alters and weakens the immune system, making the person infected vulnerable to various infections and diseases and increasing their negative impact on the body.
Without proper treatment, HIV may progress to AIDS. Drug injection users represent 9% of new HIV infections and are also responsible for transmitting the disease to others. There are no vaccines or cures for HIV.
The Role of Drug Addiction Treatment in Preventing and Treating These Disorders
Drug addiction is associated with lack of responsibility. People addicted to drugs would do anything to obtain their next dose, from resorting to violence to using unsterile materials and having unprotected sex.
While their addiction continues, they are at risk of contracting or developing any of the above-mentioned conditions. Their addiction will prevent them from recognizing symptoms and seeking treatment. They may also infect others, knowingly or otherwise.
Seeking treatment for drug addiction is often the first step towards diagnosing and treating comorbidities and co-occurring disorders. Upon being admitted in a recovery center, patients undergo an in-depth health evaluation that ensures the diagnosis or any other health conditions.
The best recovery centers in North Carolina have comprehensive treatment approaches that target both the physical and the mental well-being of the patient. Various specialists work together to find the best solution for each case.
Contact Asheville Recovery Center Today
If you or someone you love are addicted to drugs, comorbidities and co-ocurring disorders are a risk you cannot afford to ignore. Your addiction exposes you or your loved one to them and turns you or them into a threat for those around.
Do not allow drug addiction to ruin lives! Treat it at Asheville Recovery Center, so that you and your loved ones be safe and enjoy the peace and the health you deserve! You will benefit from an effective treatment program personalized to your needs and all the support you need to recover.