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Drug Addiction and Infectious Disease

The risk of infectious diseases goes hand-in-hand with drug and alcohol addiction.  A person with a drug addiction may not realize it, but they are at a greater risk for chronic illness and death from infectious disease.  If you have any drug addiction history, you need to find out more about your risk from infectious disease.

Hard To Stay Healthy With Drug Addiction

Immune System Suffers From Drug Addiction

When you have a drug addiction, your immune system becomes run down.  It is constantly reacting to damage caused by excess toxins in the body.  Plus, the body uses up energy and resources flushing these toxins out at a steady rate.  With that much over-activity, it’s not hard to see how an immune system can become seriously depleted. 

Germs can certainly enter the body more easily when the immune system is knocked down like that.  Then, the common cold becomes all too common month after month.  Or, you may come down with a more challenging condition like influenza or pneumonia.  Treating those takes time, and they can become life-threatening. 

Diseases like those usually do the most harm to people with the most vulnerable immune systems.  This always includes babies, the elderly, and anyone with chronic health problems such as those that often develop along side a drug addiction. 

Risky Behaviors and Drug Addiction Increase Chance of Illness

Many drug addicts participate in risky behaviors as part of their lifestyle.  Drug addicts are particularly vulnerable to diseases that can be passed by sharing needles.  The HIV virus is commonly transmitted this way as well as Hepatitis C.   

Unsafe sex can put someone at risk for gonorrhea, genital herpes, chlamydia, and other sexually transmitted diseases.  In many cases, alcoholics and drug users are much less discriminate about having sex.  They likely don’t use a condom and may not ask their partners too many questions about diseases. 

If you have abused drugs that use a needle even just ONCE, and even if it was a long time ago, you are at risk for developing an infectious disease.  Hepatitis and the HIV virus can take years if not decades to emerge.  Some sexually transmitted diseases have delayed symptoms, and syphillis can lie dormant in the body for up to twenty years. 

Drug Rehab Can Help Reduce Risk of Infectious Disease

The most effective way an alcohol or drug addict can reduce the risk of infectious disease is to stop using drugs altogether.  This will almost certainly mean that drug rehab or drug treatment of some kind will be necessary.  This can be particularly difficult for users that inject drugs with needles.  These include meth, heroin, and cocaine, and they are typically very difficult to stop using without professional drug detox and drug rehab.

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