Drug Abuse Related Diseases

Many people who attend residential inpatient treatment must deal with deadly drug-related diseases. Even the most common addictive substances can cause life-changing health problems, making it even harder to get clean. Unfortunately, most addicts don’t realize the extent to which drugs can cause their bodies and minds to deteriorate – at least not when they first start using. In order to keep people and healthy and sober, communities need to raise their awareness of the chronic diseases caused by drug abuse.


Diabetes is a disease of poor insulin management, and it’s often exacerbated by the blood sugar-raising effects of excess carbohydrates. In large enough quantities, alcohol can also cause large spikes in blood glucose and insulin levels. This is why even thin and lean alcoholics will sometimes exhibit diabetic symptoms.

Liver Cirrhosis

Whenever a person consumes alcohol, their liver must metabolize it. This process takes precedence over the metabolism of fats, protein, and carbohydrates – the nutrients essential to healthy organ functioning. Over time, alcoholics’ liver tissues can be replaced by scar tissue and fibrosis, and the result is severely impaired liver function. Cirrhosis is the irreversible end stage of this phenomenon.


HIV is one of the most dangerous pathogens in the world, and it’s easily transmitted through bodily fluids. Heroin addicts who share needles put themselves and others at incredible risk of contraction. People who get HIV from injection can also transmit it to non-users through sexual contact. Though the virus can lie dormant for many years, it eventually develops into AIDS – an autoimmune disease which typically causes slow and painful deaths.


Needle-sharing can also lead to the transmission of Hepatitis. This disease primarily affects the liver, and it can lead to extensive scarring and cirrhosis. People with chronic hepatitis may also experience rapid weight loss, peripheral swelling, and kidney failure.


Plenty of people experience short bouts of depression, but it can also be a chronic disease. Most long-suffering patients have imbalances in their levels of dopamine and serotonin – the chemicals which regulate feelings of pleasure, calm, and reward. Most mind-altering drugs affect these hormones, and constant heavy use can worsen these imbalances.

Throat and Lung Cancer

Almost everyone understands that cigarettes can cause cancer, but so can most substances when smoked. People who smoke crack cocaine and even marijuana put themselves at increased risks for cancers of the throat and lungs. Smoking can also cause irreversible abrasion in the larynx.

Kidney Failure

Cocaine use can lead to rhabdomyolysis, a condition which causes muscle tissue to break down and release into the bloodstream. Since the kidneys must filter the blood, this can lead to sudden kidney failure. Kidney problems are also common in people with high blood pressure, another problem which cocaine exacerbates.

Heart Attack

Cocaine’s effects on blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, as well. A powerful stimulant, cocaine causes blood flow to increase while the veins and arteries constrict. In people with advanced heart disease, this rapid increase in pressure can cause heart attacks and instant death.

Addiction to any drug is a dangerous disease, and it claims the lives of thousands every year. Don’t wait until it’s too late to get help – call the number at the top of your screen now. Our dedicated specialists are standing by night and day to help you get started on a residential inpatient treatment plan.

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