Digestive Issues and Drug Abuse

Digestive Issues and Drug AbuseThe National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse has reported that over 70 million Americans are affected by digestive diseases. The digestive system is sensitive and can be affected by many different issues, like disease, hormone fluctuation, diet, emotional issues and more. From minor discomfort to debilitating symptoms, digestive issues can seriously interfere with one’s life.

Treating Digestive Issues with Drugs

For whatever reason, many people do not take digestive issues and symptoms as seriously as they do other issues. There are many “quick fixes” and over-the-counter products available to tackle digestive problems, and it is common for people to simply assume digestive issues are due to a bad meal. While digestive issues are certainly commonplace, they can serve as warning signs for more serious and complicated issues. Furthermore, when individuals ignore symptoms of digestive troubles or self-medicate without seeking medical assistance, occasional drug use can develop into a bigger problem. As digestive issues continue or progress, safe self-medicating practices can also advance; drugs may be used more often and in higher doses, over-the-counter products may be traded in for prescription drugs, and drug use may evolve into drug misuse and abuse.

How Drug Abuse Can Worsen Digestive Issues

It is well documented that drugs can exacerbate already present digestive symptoms as well as cause digestive problems. Common digestive issues such as nausea, abdominal pain and swelling, weight loss, diarrhea, cramping, and heartburn can actually indicate signs of very serious digestive problems and illness. Long-term drug use is no way to address these issues as it will likely aggravate symptoms and lead to drug abuse, tolerance and drug dependency.

Any persistent or severe digestive issues should be brought to the attention of a medical professional immediately. Digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, gastroparesis, can lead to cancer and other life-threatening conditions.

Stop Self-Medicating Your Digestive Issues

First and foremost, the biggest problem with self-diagnosis and self-medication is that an individual never uncovers the root cause of the problems. Sure, blood tests, exams, x-rays and scans are not fun or cheap, but they can lead to a proper diagnosis and treatment, and may uncover other conditions that were causing the digestive issue in the first place. Also, when people research their digestive issues on their own, they can look at two conditions and convince themselves that they are suffering from the more common, minor issue than something more serious, like cancer. Getting the correct diagnosis can lead to earlier and more effective treatment and can also rule-out many conditions.

Any individual who is already abusing drugs or alcohol should recognize that digestive problems commonly result from substance abuse. Alcohol, in particular, tears apart the digestive system, causing ulcers, internal bleeding, tumors, infection, irritation and more. Anyone who is experiencing poor digestive health alongside substance abuse should seek professional help immediately.

Finding Non-Addictive Treatment Options for Digestive Issues

So many digestive issues can be managed with non-addictive medication and other forms of treatment. If you have digestive problems and/or need help for a drug use problem, please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline. Our recovery professionals can assist you with your questions, concerns, and needed information, as well as help find and connect you to the treatment services and professionals that are right for you.