Drug and alcohol misuse are linked to a variety of health conditions. Long-term substance misuse can lead to cancer, heart disease, stroke and other physical issues. Yet some of the most pervasive drug and alcohol-related illnesses can be contracted by anyone who misuses these substances, even those in the earliest stages of substance use. Contracting an infectious disease like HIV or hepatitis B and C completely alters the course of your life.
How Substance Use Puts You at Risk of Disease
Using drugs and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol impacts your brain, altering your judgment and lowering your inhibitions. When you’re high or drunk, you’re more likely to make poor decisions that put you at risk for getting or transmitting an infectious disease. Here are some of the most common ways these illnesses are contracted.
Sharing Needles and Drug Paraphernalia
Injection drug users (IDUs) are at the highest risk of acquiring a life-changing disease. Sharing needles exposes you to potentially infected blood or body fluids, which can lead to the contraction of HIV or hepatitis.
Even recycled drug paraphernalia can result in disease contraction. Contaminated water, items used to melt drugs and the cotton used to filter out particles can all carry illnesses.
Risky Sexual Behavior
Alcohol and drug misuse can lead people to engage in risky sexual behaviors. Unprotected sex or sexual encounters with multiple partners becomes more common as inhibitions are lowered. Some may even trade sexual favors for access to drugs to satisfy cravings. All these behaviors put people at higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
Alcohol and sexual assault are closely linked. In fact, nearly half of the rapes that occur on college campuses involve situations where the assailant, the victim or both were drinking. Because sexual assault often involves unprotected sex, this puts the victim at high risk of contracting a disease.
Weakened Immune System
Excessive drug or alcohol use can weaken your immune system, making it easier to catch an infectious disease.
The Most Common Drug and Alcohol-Related Diseases
While alcohol and drugs do not cause infectious diseases, the behaviors they lead to can put you at risk. Lowered inhibitions, higher levels of confidence and poor decision making can impact your life in many ways. The most common diseases contracted due to substance misuse include:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- And other STDs
Protect Your Health With Drug Addiction Treatment
One way to prevent contracting diseases like HIV or STDs is to not engage in drug or alcohol use. However, some people discover that using these substances has lead to addiction. If you are ready to break free and safeguard your health, find the help you need at Gateway Foundation.
Our professional substance addiction team will personalize a care program that addresses your unique needs with evidence-based services and therapies. Learn more when you contact us online today or give us a call at 877-381-6538.