AIDS Awareness and Substance Abuse
An Overlooked Link
When we think about AIDS awareness and substance abuse, it is easy to assume the connection is with transmission and intravenous drug use. While that is a correlation and one worth understanding, the link goes much further than that.
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How Substance Abuse Affects AIDS
Some forms of substance abuse can put a person at a higher risk of contracting Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or HIV and AIDS. Others find they turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope after diagnosis. This evolution of drug abuse and alcohol abuse is not always openly discussed.
But not talking about it does not help. We can only address the issue once we acknowledge it and prepare to face it head-on.
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Understanding Substance Abuse
Substance abuse can include both drug abuse and alcohol abuse. Harmful behaviors can also be a part of substance abuse. Compulsive shopping, gambling, and risky sexual behaviors can contribute to a person’s abuse issues. Substance abuse does not always involve illegal drugs. Some of the more common substances used to the point of abuse include:
- prescription drugs
How Substance Abuse and AIDS Awareness Work Together
Not everyone coping with AIDS or HIV has a substance abuse problem. But many people develop a substance abuse problem once they are diagnosed. Often this is because they are self-medicating to deal with the disease’s mental or physical side effects. Substance abuse can weaken the immune system making it more vulnerable to infections.
Drug Abuse and AIDS
One of the best-known ways drug abuse impacts HIV and AIDS is through the transmission of body fluids. Drugs, such as heroin and methamphetamine, are often used intravenously. When syringes are used, shared, or reused, it increases the chance of infection. Chronic drug abuse can also make someone more likely to enter into risky behavior to get their drug of choice.
It is not uncommon for people to enter into sex work or engage in trading sex for drugs. When done due to drug abuse, each of these behaviors can lead to a higher incidence of unprotected sex. Unprotected sex remains one of the main ways HIV is transmitted.
Alcohol Abuse and AIDS
HIV cannot be spread through the use of alcohol in the same way it can be with intravenous drug use. But alcohol abuse can still be a contributing factor in the transmission of diseases. Chronic alcohol abuse weakens the immune system in general. This makes people more susceptible to many different diseases, including HIV.
When there is alcohol abuse, it means someone usually drinks until they feel drunk. In that inebriated state, higher levels of decision-making skills are impaired. In extreme cases, people will blackout for hours with no memory of what happened to them. When thinking and self-control are impaired to this level it can lead to dangerous behaviors. It may be deciding to take or inject a drug from a friend or agree to unprotected sex with someone. Either of these behaviors increases a person’s chance of contracting HIV.
Mental Illness and Substance Abuse
Substance abuse does not develop overnight. There is always an underlying cause. When people take the time to acknowledge and understand these root causes, it supports a successful recovery. People struggling with mental illness are more likely to experience substance abuse.
Many mental health issues are treated with medication. Not every mental health condition that requires medicine increases the risk of substance abuse. Some of the more common MAT diseases associated with an increased chance of substance abuse include:
- anxiety and mood disorders
- bipolar disorder
- major depressive disorder
- conduct disorders
At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we provide dual diagnosis treatment that is designed to address both substance abuse and mental health issues.
When someone is dealing with a substance abuse problem and a chronic illness, it is a co-occurring condition. It is important to know this information because it directly impacts the kind of treatments needed. Almost any form of substance abuse will impact a person’s physical health and mental health. Since substance abuse itself can be so multi-faceted, its treatment should be as well.
AIDS Awareness, Substance Abuse and Rehab
HIV and AIDS are serious conditions that need consideration when treating other issues. Since HIV is the initial disease and, over time, can progress into AIDS, the treatment teams need to understand the disease as a whole. When and how a person develops a substance abuse issue also plays a role in understanding the big picture. Medication options, for example, can be influenced if someone has a drug problem.
Combining AIDS Awareness and Rehab
Nothing should prevent you from seeking help for substance abuse, including underlying conditions. The medical community has developed decades of research to understand the treatment of HIV and AIDS better. At the same time, there has also been much research and advancement in understanding substance abuse and addiction. This understanding of progression has given us the ability to develop treatments tailored to a person’s situation.
Seeing the Big Picture
The staff at Resurgence Behavioral Health understands the more you know, the better. You cannot treat a person unless you see their whole story. We work with people from every walk of life. That means we understand how personal experiences of the past impact your present. Understanding past traumas and issues also provide guidance for the future.
It helps our professionals plan the best path to a successful recovery. This is the guiding principle behind how we approach true and whole rehabilitation. By taking the time to understand where you are and where you have been, we can better help you get where you want to be.
How do I Pay for Addiction Treatment?
Do you want treatment but are worried about how you can pay for it? We have a team of financial professionals who provide free insurance verification. We will work with you to determine how to move forward with the treatment in a way that works for you and your financial situation.
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How to Get Help
Are you struggling with addiction? Help is available. You are not alone in this struggle.
The trained professionals at Resurgence Behavioral Health are here to help. Call 877-321-2865 to schedule your consultation.