Substance use disorder and drug addiction cause numerous health issues. Long-term drug abuse can not only severely damage personal and professional relationships but also cause irrevocable medical issues. Part of substance abuse treatment involves addressing the complications of drug use ranging from issues that arise through injecting, inhaling, or snorting various illicit drugs. Some of these complications arise from how drugs are taken while others come from how they affect an individual’s system. No matter what the complications of drug use are, individuals need help from an addiction treatment center in Phoenix, AZ, to heal and overcome addiction.
Complications from IV and Intramuscular Drug Use
Perhaps the most severe complications of drug use come from injecting drugs intravenously (into the veins) and intramuscular (into the muscle just under the skin). Complications of IV drug use arise from injecting drugs directly into an individual’s veins, a method that delivers the drug directly into the bloodstream. For example, when repeatedly injecting drugs like heroin into one’s veins, this can lead to collapsed veins or blood clots. Thrombosis is the formation of clots in the veins, which can be life-threatening, causing blockages in the heart and the lungs. Unsanitized needles can lead to endocarditis, the inflammation of the interior lining of the heart. This weakening or destruction of heart valves is also life-threatening.
There are other complications from injecting drugs such as intramuscular drug use. This is a method similar to getting a flu shot. The substance being abused isn’t injected directly into the bloodstream but the individual’s muscles. However, like injecting drugs into one’s veins, a deep injection into the muscle tissues can create serious complications. Injecting drugs this way can cause an abscess, which can lead to severe infection, as well as:
- Necrotizing fasciitis: A bacterial infection, this flesh-eating disease happens when bacteria enters the body through a break in the skin. Because those who abuse drugs tend to have a weaker immune system, the risk is much higher in those addicted.
- Pyomyositis: A bacterial infection that targets the skeletal system destroying joints, ligaments, and bones.
- Staph infections: Staphylococcus is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted to others
Furthermore, both IV drug use and intramuscular drug use greatly increase the risk of HIV transmission and hepatitis.
Complications of Drug Use from Inhaling or Snorting
Snorting or smoking drugs allows the drug to enter the bloodstream through either the mucus membranes of the nose or through the lungs. Several drugs are commonly inhaled (smoked) or snorted. Sometimes the same drug can be used in many different ways, each with its side effects and complications. For example, cocaine is typically snorted but crack cocaine is inhaled while methamphetamine can be either smoked or snorted. A drug like marijuana is usually smoked, but as it has increased in popularity, it has been developed into forms that can be eaten. Depending on the substance abused, the complications of drug use from smoking or snorting will vary.
Some common complications of snorting drugs include throat irritation and infection. When forcefully inhaled, the powdered drugs drip down the throat in nasal mucus. This can lead to lesions to develop in the throat and back of the mouth. Perhaps the most dangerous complication is the damage done to an individual’s nasal membranes. Repeated drug use causes these mucus membranes, which serve as a natural defense against bacteria and viruses, to weaken. The result is nasal tissue being so damaged that an individual’s immune system becomes compromised, leading to more intense and frequent illnesses.
While many believe marijuana is a benign drug, smoking can lead to the same complications and diseases that arise from cigarette smoking. Any time an individual inhales smoke, they are damaging their lungs. The complications of smoking drugs include breathing problems, lung infections, other pulmonary injuries, and damage to teeth and gums. When individuals abuse meth, smoking the drug frequently leads to tooth decay and periodontitis (gum disease), which leads to the loss of teeth but can lead to life-threatening infections.
Drug Addiction Treatment in Phoenix, AZ
Our addiction treatment center in the Phoenix metro area offers drug abuse treatment that addresses the complications that can arise from substance abuse. Reach out to us today at 855.920.1104 to learn more about our addiction treatment programs and begin healing.