Substance Use Disorder and Associated Secondary Medical Conditions

Editorial Team

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Substance Use Disorder and Associated Secondary Medical Conditions

A substance use disorder can be an incredibly challenging condition for an individual to have to overcome. Getting past a serious addiction is a difficult prospect for a person to have to address, as they will have to adjust many of their habits and routines in order to move towards a sober life. But a substance use disorder often means a person will also have to deal with secondary medical conditions as a result of their dependence, issues which can become debilitating and make one’s addiction that much more serious.

Medical Consequences Associated with Addiction

Addiction on its own can be an extremely difficult condition to deal with, but there can often be secondary medical conditions that can accompany one’s substance use disorder. Addiction to alcohol and drugs can negatively impact one’s physical and mental health in many ways, and a person may experience consequences which can complicate their situation. This reality stresses the need to seek help before one’s situation reaches a critical level, creating additional hurdles for an individual to have to overcome.

Viral Infections from Substance Use Disorders

A substance use disorder can lead to viral infections such as HIV, hepatitis, and STDs which are spread through unprotected sex or by sharing dirty needles among users. On average, 10% of all new HIV infections are due to individuals sharing needles, a stark reminder of how an addiction can eventually lead to lifelong consequences. It’s not just a matter of having to overcome your addictive behavior, as addiction can create further obstacles to have to move beyond, making a difficult situation even more challenging.

Endocarditis from Substance Use Disorder

One of the more deadly and common viral infections which can affect a person who has a substance use disorder is a condition called endocarditis. Endocarditis is an infection of the endocardium, which is the inner lining of your heart chambers and heart valves. This infection occurs when some form of bacteria or fungi from another part of your body is spread to your heart. This condition, if not properly addressed quickly, can eventually lead to death, as the infection can ultimately destroy your heart valves and lead to other serious, life-threatening complications. It’s vital to consider seeking treatment at a treatment center in Arizona before things progress any further.

Symptoms of endocarditis include things such as flu-like symptoms, such as fever and chills, fatigue, night sweats, and aching joints and muscles. This condition can also cause shortness of breath, chest pain when breathing, swelling in the legs or abdomen, and lead to a changed heart murmur. Less common symptoms of this disorder include things such as unexplained sudden weight loss, blood in one’s urine, and tenderness in the spleen, which is the organ responsible for fighting infection.

Endocarditis has a variety of causes, which include things such as everyday oral activities including brushing one’s teeth, which can allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream. It can also be the result of catheters, an infection, or another medical condition such as gum disease which allows bacteria the chance to enter the bloodstream of the affected individual. For individuals who are addicted to substances that require intravenous drug use, endocarditis can result from this type of substance use disorder. Contaminated needles and syringes can allow bacteria and germs which cause endocarditis to enter the bloodstream more easily.

Mental Health Conditions Associated with Substance Abuse

In addition to the physical medical conditions which can affect an individual with a substance use disorder, there are a variety of mental health conditions that can accompany addiction. Many individuals struggling with an addiction can develop co-occurring disorders, such as major depression, anxiety, and psychosis. If a person has pre-existing mental health conditions, a substance use disorder can exacerbate such conditions. Feelings of shame, guilt, and sadness can often accompany addiction, as a physical dependence can reduce one’s self-worth and overall outlook on life.

Getting Help for Substance Use Disorders

When it comes to substance use disorders, it’s always best to be as proactive as possible to prevent developing a secondary medical condition as a result of one’s use. The sooner one is able to intervene in their addiction, the better able they will be to move beyond it and return to a sober lifestyle. When going it alone seems impossible, it is imperative to seek the services of a professional and compassionate treatment center in Arizona which can offer the resources needed to overcome an addiction. Springboard Recovery offers a wide range of services that address a person’s individual situation, ensuring each case is treated appropriately.

If you or someone you love is battling an addiction and are looking for a strategy for tackling this often debilitating dependence, contact Springboard Recovery to begin the road to recovery. We are a treatment center in Arizona that helps individuals who are struggling with addiction find a way to turn their downward spiral of drug or alcohol abuse into an upward spiral of recovery. It doesn’t matter whether your addiction is the result of environment or genetics, we are committed to providing sustainable solutions to individuals in need. Our team of professionals understands that not every addiction is the same and we work with our clients to develop a personalized treatment plan which is uniquely tailored to their specific needs.


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  2. American Psychiatric Association:
  3. Verywell mind:
  4. American Psychiatric Association:
  5. Medical News Today:
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:,HIV%20(human%20immunodeficiency%20virus)%20is%20a%20virus%20that%20attacks%20the,care%2C%20HIV%20can%20be%20controlled.
  7. WebMD:,What%20Are%20STDs%3F,syphilis%2C%20and%20trichomoniasis%20are%20STDs.
  8. State of Rhode Island:
  9. MedlinePlus:

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JULY 10, 2019

Robert Castan is a member of the Executive Leadership Team at SpringBoard Recovery. Robert started his professional career as a house manager and has become an industry leader and trusted voice in the treatment world. He brings extensive knowledge of organizational growth, industry-leading outcomes, and comprehensive marketing to SpringBoard Recovery. Robert has been walking his own path of recovery for over 10 years. This path has truly driven his ambition to help make treatment available to others who are struggling with addiction. Robert finds great joy in traveling and keeping physically active, with an emphasis on biking. Robert resides in Arizona with his husband and two four-legged children.

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