Covid-19 Increases Drug Addiction and Overdose
Covid-19 is affecting many who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction, Treatment centers for drug addiction across the US understand the dangers addicts in during COVID-19. This article by our drug rehabs, Encinitas, California staff is to refresh your memory on some of the many things that come with drug and alcohol addiction. Drug and alcohol addiction are tough enough to get under control. Now we have the added burden of dealing with the Coronavirus and isolation. This is causing many to relapse while trying to deal with the pandemic.
This type of forced isolation could be life-threatening. It takes suffering addicts away from Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Many are used to and need their support systems. The whole situation may put individuals close to their old unhealthy habits. Below are some things that often accompany drug and alcohol addiction.
- Wernicke’s Encephalopathy
This syndrome occurs from an inadequate intake or absorption of thiamine. It is most commonly seen in individuals who abuse alcohol. It is characterized by impairment of short term memory, confusion and difficulties with voluntary movement (ataxia). If the individual ceases alcohol consumption and is treated with thiamine, the syndrome may be reversed. If this does not occur, this can progress to Korsakoff’s Dementia.
- Korsakoff’s Dementia
Korsakoff’s Dementia is linked to chronic alcohol abuse and severe malnutrition. It is characterized by anterograde and retrograde amnesia, confabulation, meager content in conversation, lack of insight and apathy. Even if the individual ceases drinking and is treated with thiamine, rehabilitation is slow and incomplete.
- Effects of Addiction on the Body
Individuals who suffer from substance misuse disorders often have one or more accompanying medical issues, including lung and cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer. Injection of drugs increases the risk of acquiring infectious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C. Mental illness and substance use disorders often co-exist. In some cases, mental health illness may precede addiction; in other cases, substance abuse may trigger mental illness.
- Addiction and Safety
This is an added risk to physical safety as a result of intoxication. There are higher rates of sexual assault, physical assault, contraction of contagious diseases, traumatic brain injury, injuries, car accidents, and crime victimization- that applies to both those perpetuating that assault and those who are the targets of the assault.
The number one cause of accidental realty is prescription drug overdose- more than car accidents! This is due to respiratory depression (the ability to breathe the ability to breathe automatically).
Remember- just because treatment centers for drug addiction or a doctor prescribed a medication does not mean it is safe or non-addictive. Also, when used in combination with alcohol or other drugs- or if dosages are exceeded- it can be fatal.
Alcohol consumption can damage the brain and most body organs. Areas of the brain that are especially vulnerable to alcohol-related damage are the cerebral cortex (largely responsible for higher brain functions, including problem solving and decision making), the hippocampus (memory and learning) and the cerebellum (movement and coordination). Esophageal and high blood pressure can be caused and worsened by alcohol abuse.
- Liver Damage
The liver is particularly susceptible to alcohol related injury because it is the primary site of alcohol metabolism. Symptoms of liver damage many not appear until damage to the organ is quite extensive.
Alcoholic hepatitis: Widespread inflammation and destruction of liver tissue. Scar tissue may begin to replace healthy liver tissue (fibrosis). Can be fatal but may be reversible with abstinence. This occurs in up to 50 percent of heavy drinkers.
Alcoholic Cirrhosis: Most advanced form of liver disease. Extensive fibrosis stiffens blood vessels causing scar tissue to build up and results in sever functional impairment including system toxicity. Once you have Cirrhosis, nothing can make all the scar tissue go away. Treating the cause will keep cirrhosis from getting worse. For example, if the cause is from heavy alcohol use, the treatment is to completely stop drinking alcohol. Cirrhosis can advance to the point where the liver is no longer functional as the scar tissue has replaced healthy tissue. At this point, a liver transplant is needed.
- Hepatitis C
Is a viral disease which leads to swelling in the liver, it can be contracted through sexual contact or blood infection (sharing needles etc.). Most people who contract it do not have symptoms immediately – and are not aware of their infection, and may be spreading it, until living scarring occurs. Treatment involves administration of antiviral drugs. If ineffective, the disease may progress to liver cancer and/or cirrhosis, which requires a liver transplant. Hepatitis C can also be fatal.
Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body. It can lead to cancer of the larynx, esophagus, lungs, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder and other organs. In extreme cases it can lead to stroke and coronary heart disease. Smoking damages the blood vessels and can make them thicken and narrow. Some of the things it can lead to are lung diseases like COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and lung cancer.
Impairs short-term memory, learning, and the ability to focus attention. It can harm the lungs and can increase the risk of psychosis. Marijuana is a depressant and often decreases motivation and increases anxiety and depression.
Can contribute to psychosis and the need for psychiatric or medical hospitalization, dehydration and dangerous behaviors while under the influence.
Are intended for short-term relief from overwhelming anxiety and/or treatment of withdrawal from alcohol and taper off of benzodiazepines. They reduce the risk of seizures and decrease blood pressure if used in small quantities, however when abused, they increase the risk of withdrawal seizures and high blood pressure. Abuse of benzodiazepines can be fatal as they decrease respirations and are involved In many drug combination overdoses. Benzodiazepines and benzodiazepines containing sleep meds enhance the effects of alcohol, and often cause blackouts, falls and dangerous intoxication. Benzodiazepines abuse increases anxiety symptoms through tolerance and withdrawal symptoms and causes rebound anxiety.
Can lead to sever medical consequences such as heart attack, stroke, seizures, nasal and throat perforation, ulcer ps and kidney failure. Weight loss and electrolyte imbalances are common with cocaine users.
Effects of amphetamines are long lasting and extremely harmful to the brain. Using amphetamines cause high body temperatures and can lead to serious heart problems and seizures. Chemicals in methamphetamines are highly toxic. Amphetamine use can lead to cardiac problems, stroke, sever weight loss/ malnutrition, skin lesions, sever dental problems, and respiratory problems.
- Opiates (Pills and Heroine)
Opiate use slows respiration and heart rate. The rate of overdose from opiates continues to climb. The use of opiates is linked to increased risk of serious infectious diseases, weight loss and malnutrition. Death rates for IV opioid users is high, 50 percent less than a typical life span. Over time, opiates increase the perception of pain and make pain conditions much worse. Opioid users often contemplate suicide.
- IV Drug Use and Sharing Needles
Increases the risk of transmission of infectious disease such as HIV and Hepatitis C. It is not uncommon to have abscesses at injection sites. Injection sites commonly host infection and can lead to serious blood infections as well.
All drugs of abuse can worsen and contribute to insomnia. Most drugs of abuse interrupt natural circadian rhythms. Alcohol causes drowsiness and leads to mid/early awakening, opiates cause hypersomnolence (too much sleep), marijuana causes sleepiness, benzodiazepines cause sleepiness and rebound insomnia, and stimulates (cocaine/ amphetamines/meth) causes insomnia and then a desperate need for sleep coupled with irritability.
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)
Such as Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aspirin, Naproxen. Excessive use can cause stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, heart burn, constipation, nausea, ulcer, and gastrointestinal bleeding. Abuse of pain-relieving sleep medications are dangerous due to the side effects of NSAIDS/Acetaminophen.
Individuals who have built a high tolerance for drugs and alcohol have slightly different experiences during the intoxication process. Physical symptoms, such as sweating, nausea/vomiting, tachycardia, increased blood pressure, tremors and seizures are common. Mood disturbances surrounding detox are also common. Withdrawals can last a few days or weeks and medication is available to help manage the detoxification process.
Inpatient Drug Rehabs Encinitas is Here to Help
Harmony Grove Recovery’s inpatient drug rehabs Encinitas is open and ready to help. The COVID-19 pandemic is dangerous, however, it is extremely dangerous to anyone in recovery. Our treatment centers for drug addiction are open and here for you. Our team of experience substance abuse treatment professionals are ready to help. We have made many changes to ensure all of our clients needs are taken care during this time. Some of the changes we made are to ensure that anyone attending any of our programs is safe. Give us a call now at (760) 697-0497 and start your safe recovery journey now.