Study Finds Link Between Substance Use Disorder and Chronic Health Problems

A new study finds 37 percent of adults in recovery from problems related to alcohol or drugs have been diagnosed with one or more of nine alcohol- and drug-related diseases and health conditions.

These conditions include liver disease, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted infections, cancer, hepatitis C, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and diabetes, Science Daily reports.

Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital Recovery Research Institute analyzed data from the 2017 National Recovery Survey. They found levels of hepatitis C, COPD, heart disease and diabetes were higher among those in recovery, compared with the general population.

“We’ve known for a long time that chronic and heavy substance use can cause a multitude of diseases directly and indirectly,” said researcher David Eddie, Ph.D. “The extent to which these diseases and health conditions continue to persist for the millions of Americans who achieve recovery remains to be clarified, but this study highlights the fact that these negative impacts may continue to affect quality of life even when people achieve addiction recovery.”

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