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Hepatitis A and the Opioid Epidemic

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Hepatitis A, also referred to as hep A, is a liver infection that causes the liver to become inflamed.

If hepatitis A is untreated, it can impair the liver’s functions and result in many additional health problems.

Hepatitis A has recently begun to spread rapidly in many communities in America.

Researchers have hypothesized, through extensive research, that a primary catalyst of this spread is the opioid epidemic that has been growing in all parts of the country.

Drug abuse often leads to addiction. Nobody wants an addiction controlling every part of their life. But it happens far too often.

Addiction hurts the individual and everyone around them. It tears apart families and friends because it is self-destructive in every way.

Often, it is also a truly lonely and difficult path for any individual that is stuck obeying the demands of his or her addiction. It becomes lonely because those whom the individual cares for will likely cut connections with him or her eventually because of the nature of addiction.

But while the individual’s family and friends are still in his or her life, he or she will experience an abundance of judgment in all forms. When an individual experiences judgment, it is counterproductive to the goal of recovery. It may only overwhelm the individual and lead him or her toward further deterioration of their life.

However, the person making judgments may feel they are justified in their actions because a social stigma surrounds drug addiction.

Understanding the opioid epidemic will elucidate why this addiction continues to grow, and now, with the repercussion of the major spread of Hepatitis A.

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The Opioid Epidemic

 

Since 2010, opioid use, hospitalizations, and deaths from overdose have been increasing throughout the U.S. This is referred to as the opioid epidemic or opioid crisis. The opioid epidemic is now the number one cause of preventable and accidental deaths in the U.S. Approximately, 40,000 people die each year from an opioid-related overdose.

This is equivalent to 115 deaths from opioids per day. Opioid drugs include substances such as heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, fentanyl, and morphine.

Opioid addiction does not only target one demographic in particular but rather it is prevalent among the entirety of the population. This includes urban, rural, and upper-class communities, teenagers, veterans, and people with preexisting mental health conditions.

The opioid epidemic does not only affect the individual using opioids but it also detrimentally affects all of the individual’s loved ones.

There are a plethora of reasons as to why an individual decides to use opioids. A common trend among prescription opioid abuse and addiction is how an individual develops dependency.

Often, an individual has been prescribed an opioid medication such as hydrocodone or oxycodone to treat moderate to severe pain. However, opioids carry a high potential for dependency due to the powerful recreational effects it produces in the body.

Tolerance is easily developed, which causes the individual to use more than his or her prescribed dosage.

This leads to opioid addiction.

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Opioid Addiction

 

Opioids are highly addictive. The reason for this is because of the way opioids work in the brain, and also how it eventually alters brain chemistry, resulting in brain damage.

During the early stages of opioid abuse, the compulsion to consume the drug increases due to tolerance and physical and psychological dependence. When opioids are consumed, it enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain. It then binds to the specialized proteins mu-opioid receptors, which are located on the surfaces of brain cells sensitive and susceptible to opioids.

When these chemicals are linked, stimulation of the biochemical brain activity occurs, which produces feelings of intense pleasure and euphoria, as well as reduces pain.

Opioids also release the neurotransmitter dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, a part of the brain that dictates the user’s desire to keep ingesting the drug, to maintain pleasure, and to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Prolonged use of opioids on its own will result in brain damage.

Hepatitis A and The Opioid Epidemic

 

Opioid addiction has a verifiable and distinct correlation with the spread of Hepatitis A. Sanitization is a primary factor as to how people contract this disease.

Hepatitis A is transmitted through ingesting the stool of an infected individual, by some means. This is why this disease is highly common among communities where sanitization is not widely available or practiced. Populations such as the homeless and prison system fall into this category and have resulted in the major spread of Hepatitis A.

Heroin is a major opioid that people often develop a tolerance for. The most common manner of administration of heroin is intravenous, using a needle.

Often, many people share needles or use dirty needles when injecting the drug. This is a direct contribution to the spread of not only Hepatitis A, but also many other transmissible diseases.

Rural areas have been impacted by this disease more than other communities. This can be attributed to the lack of medical resources and drug education available in these areas.

In 2018, the Center for Disease Control addressed this issue by allocating $9.1 million on preemptive and responsive resources to help slow the spread. Of these resources, 150,000 vaccinations were provided to individuals at risk in rural areas.

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Hepatitis A

 

Hepatitis A symptoms manifest two to six weeks after contracting the disease. Symptoms can last up to six months. Treatment is typically required to prevent the disease from causing further damage to the body and overall health of the individual. It is possible to contract Hepatitis A and have no symptoms. This is more common among children under six years old. Adults are much more likely to experience symptoms.

Hepatitis A Symptoms

 

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Dark yellow urine
  • Discolored stool
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Appetite loss
  • Pain in joints
  • Jaundice

How to Reduce Risk of Hepatitis A Transmission

 

A vaccine for Hepatitis A has been proven effective for clinical use in preventing transmission of the disease. The vaccine has indications that it remains effective for the duration of an individual’s life. Basic sanitization practices can greatly reduce the risk of spreading Hepatitis A.

This includes proper handwashing for which the Center for Disease Control and Prevention provided guidelines. Additional measures include proper and thorough cooking of meat, poultry, and pork.

Payment for Treatment and Our Free Insurance Verification

 

Seeking treatment for your dependency is one of the bravest things you can do for yourself.

Do not let your situation stop you from contacting Resurgence Behavioral Health.

We provide honest and accurate pricing information for all of our treatment options. We offer free insurance verification. Call us today to see if you qualify.

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Reach Out and Receive Treatment Today

 

Do not wait any further! Help is available to you when you need it. You are not alone in this struggle.

The trained professionals at Resurgence Behavioral Health genuinely care about you and dedicate their lives to make sure you can live yours.

To overcome substance addiction, proper drug therapy treatment is required.

It is not an easy walk, but our treatment is the best option when it comes to your health. We provide the most professional treatment to give you a fighting chance in a rough battle.

Let today be the day you reach out to Resurgence Behavioral Health so that you can begin to reclaim the life you have been missing!

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