Anyone who abuses drugs or alcohol increases their risk of death through the effects of their drug use and their lifestyle, but people who are infected with HIV or AIDS are even more at risk for dangerous complications. For these individuals, drug rehab is imperative if they want to live a healthier, longer life.
The Need for Drug Rehab among HIV and AIDS Patients
The need for drug rehab among patients with HIV and AIDS is hugely important. For one, patients with HIV or AIDS have a lowered immune system. Even something as simple as the common cold can become a dangerous event for someone infected with the HIV/AIDS virus. Drug and alcohol abuse wreaks havoc on even the healthiest of bodies, but combining drugs and alcohol use with the weak immune system of an HIV/AIDS patient opens them up to deadly infections and illnesses such as pneumonia, Hepatitis C and tuberculosis.
The second biggest health risk is that substance abuse worsens AIDS-related brain damage and dementia. Research shows that alcohol and drugs increase the risk for brain damage in “healthy” patients; AIDS patients who are already susceptible to brain damage due to their disease will only see these symptoms exacerbated by substance abuse.
Yet another reason drug rehab is so important for HIV/AIDS patients is because these patients often need to adhere to a strict regimen of medications designed to combat the effects of their illness and prolong their life. The life of an addict is too unorganized, unpredictable and chaotic for anyone to maintain the kind of stability needed — both financially and mentally — to adhere to a costly medication routine. In fact, research shows that patients who use highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) — a powerful antiviral medication used to increase the survival rate of patients infected with HIV — are 60% less likely to take it on a regular basis if they abuse drugs or alcohol. The effectiveness of HAART is also diminished when combined with drugs and alcohol.
The bottom line is substance abuse increases the health risks for users with HIV/AIDS above and beyond users who are not infected. The health risks to the public are also increased. People under the influence of drugs or alcohol will often make sexual and behavioral choices they normally wouldn’t make, including engaging in sex with non-infected people and sharing needles with other addicts.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment for HIV/AIDS Patients in Drug Rehab
Learning that you have HIV or AIDS is a devastating blow; for those who can’t afford expensive medications to combat the illness, it can even be a life sentence. Is it any wonder why there is a high rate of depression, anxiety and other mental disorders among HIV/AIDS patients?
Research shows that co-occurring substance abuse and depression often go hand in hand for people infected with HIV or AIDS. Sometimes the substance abuse is used as a way to cope with an already existing mental disorder, and other times mental disorders can arise as a result of substance abuse. Dual diagnosis treatment is often the only way an individual can effectively overcome a substance abuse problem and a mental disorder such as depression. Without simultaneously treating both disorders, a person suffering from dual diagnosis will inevitably continue the vicious cycle of self-medicating their mental illness symptoms through substance abuse.
Drug Recovery for HIV and AIDS Patients at Casa Palmera
Being diagnosed with HIV or AIDS doesn’t have to be a life sentence. If you continue to abuse drugs or alcohol, however, it will be. It’s never to late to start living a healthy sober lifestyle. No matter how bad your substance abuse problem is, you can reverse the devastating health effects by quitting drugs and alcohol.
At Casa Palmera, we understand how difficult it is to try to cope with a life-threatening illness while trying to combat a substance abuse problem. Our compassionate staff has the training necessary to meet your physical, psychological and emotional needs. Our drug rehab programs combine traditional and alternative therapies to help you overcome your addiction and treat any co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more. Our programs are based on holistic principals that help you heal physically, mentally and spiritually.
Call Casa Palmera today and start the healing process.