Hepatitis and Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine abuse comes with a heavy price: many cocaine addicts face consequences in their relationships, finances, mental wellbeing and physical health. Among the many risks of cocaine abuse is the possibility of contracting or developing hepatitis. Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver and it can be caused by many different factors, such as a viral infection (hepatitis A, B, and C) or damage brought about by toxins in the body.

Does Cocaine Abuse Affect the Risk for Hepatitis?

Drug users who snort or inject cocaine are at risk of contracting the highly transmittable hepatitis C virus (HCV). Snorting cocaine and other drugs can damage blood vessels in the nose, which causes traces of blood carrying HCV to spread to whatever instruments are used. Therefore, sharing bills, straws or any other paraphernalia to snort cocaine can cause the virus to spread. Many people with HCV are unaware that they have the problem and do not know it can spread through intranasal cocaine use, so they either contract it or share it with others even though they may not know it.

Cocaine users who inject the drug also put themselves at risk of contracting HCV. Sharing a needle with someone who has the virus can also spread the disease. Of the people who contract acute HCV, many of them develop chronic HCV, but sometimes the symptoms of the virus do not manifest themselves until the liver is scarred and the damage is irreversible.

There is also a non-transmittable form of hepatitis that can develop from drug use. The liver helps the body process nutrients and clears it of toxic substances, but a harmful substance like cocaine can damage the liver. Symptoms of hepatitis include the following problems:

  • Yellowing of the eyes and skin
  • Nausea, vomiting and decreased appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Weight loss
  • Light-colored feces
  • Dark urine
  • Circulation problems

If you have any of these problems, it may be because you have HCV.

Treatment for Cocaine Abuse and Hepatitis

Individuals who suffer from hepatitis can complicate treatment if they use cocaine and further harm their livers. Likewise, the medical needs of hepatitis patients can complicate the treatment for cocaine addiction. Antiviral treatment can rid the body of hepatitis C, but in some acute cases no drug is needed and the liver will heal itself.

Comprehensive professional treatment for cocaine addiction will consider a patient’s physical needs and explore the underlying issues of cocaine addiction.

Help for Cocaine Addiction and Hepatitis

If you or a loved one is struggling with cocaine addiction and hepatitis, call our toll-free helpline to learn about your professional treatment options. Our addiction counselors are available 24 hours a day to help you take your first step toward recovery. Please call today for instant support.

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