Medical Conditions Secondary to Addiction; Why It’s Important to Seek Addiction Treatment Arizona Now
Drinking heavily has severe side-effects in the present, including safety hazards and potential alcohol poisoning. However, these immediate concerns are not the only thing to worry about regarding alcohol abuse. Those struggling with alcohol use are likely to develop a wide range of medical conditions secondary to addiction if they don’t stop drinking or using other substances. In order to avoid these medical conditions secondary to addiction, it’s imperative to seek addiction treatment in Arizona to begin recovery.
Medical Conditions Secondary to Addiction: Both Physical & Mental Health
The secondary conditions of addiction can impact a person’s physical and mental health for the rest of their lives, even after they have stopped drinking. The earlier someone receives treatment, the greater chance they have of making a full recovery. Rather than only seek help to treat growing problems, the purpose of addiction treatment Arizona is to help people lead a fulfilling life in the present while simultaneously helping them build a brighter future.
Below are some of the most common medical conditions caused by alcohol use disorder. While having a drinking problem does not guarantee someone will develop any one of the following conditions, the longer an addiction persists, the more likely someone may experience serious health risks.
The liver is an incredible organ with over 500 unique functions.  When you drink, your liver filters the alcohol, and a chemical reaction called oxidative stress occurs. This process can result in permanent scarring that harms the liver and weakens its ability to function as it attempts to repair itself properly. Chronic liver disease can cause the liver to scar over and become rigid; a condition called cirrhosis.
Alcohol turns into a cancer-causing substance called acetaldehyde. This not only increases the risk of cancer in the liver but other parts of the body as well.  Alcohol can cause cancer of the:
- Colon and rectum
- Mouth (oral cancer)
- Throat (pharynx cancer)
- Voicebox (larynx cancer)
Cancer risks increase the more a person drinks. Duration and quantity both impact a person’s cancer risk along with their genetics and family history.
Another organ heavily impacted by alcohol addiction is the pancreas. The pancreas is part of your digestive and endocrine system. The organ is responsible for releasing hormones that help maintain a stable blood sugar level and assisting the rest of the body in breaking down various fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into energy for the body.
Pancreatitis is caused by inflammation. When the pancreas is swollen, a buildup of enzymes causes the organ to begin attacking itself. This can be acute, lasting only a few days, or chronically plague a person for years on end. As the pancreas gradually becomes weaker, it loses its ability to function correctly.
The leading cause of chronic pancreatitis is alcohol abuse, and it affects males twice as much as females. 
Many people who become sober after years or even decades of alcohol abuse report persistent problems with memory and concentration. Telltale signs of this secondary condition of addiction include slurred speech and poor coordination—both of which are caused by alcohol’s impact on the brain.
As alcohol builds up in a person’s system, they develop a physical dependency. However, the same dependency they need to function daily also slowly deteriorates their body and brain. Permanent changes to the brain from alcohol can include the inability to produce enough serotonin and GABA, two chemicals that impact mood stability, memory, and thinking (cognition).
If the brain’s built-in receptors become damaged, people can experience prolonged side-effects and even permanent damage, including memory loss, clinical depression, anxiety disorders, blackouts, and the early onset of dementia.
One of the most pressing health issues for people seeking to treat alcohol abuse is delirium tremens (DTS). This condition is caused by alcohol withdrawal and can lead to life-threatening health complications, including seizures, heart attack, and respiratory failure.
Also known as alcohol withdrawal syndrome, DTS affects one out of every 20 people who attempt to quit drinking.  For this reason alone, heavy drinkers are always encouraged to seek professional alcohol detox services as the first step of treatment.
DTS affects the way a person’s blood circulates and can affect breathing, heart rate, and temperature regulation. Symptoms vary by individual, but range from general confusion and hyperactivity to loss of consciousness, hallucinations, and high blood pressure.
Medical supervision and support can reduce the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms and provide life-saving intervention if a person develops delirium tremens.
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Get Help Today, Reduce the Likelihood of Medical Conditions Secondary to Addiction
The future is something many people with addiction struggle to envision. Thinking too far ahead only elevates stress, which makes them want to turn back to the only comfort they have. For many people, the best approach to alcohol treatment is taking one day at a time. By getting treatment early, you can give yourself a chance to live a fulfilling life.
The skills you learn and the connections you make in recovery will help you handle problems as they arise, all while learning to appreciate the present and lead a life you are genuinely happy to have. If you or a loved one is suffering from substance abuse, seek professional addiction treatment. Arizona is home to Desert Cove Recovery rehab, and we are here to help.
Sources: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/liver-anatomy-and-functions  https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/diet-physical-activity/alcohol-use-and-cancer.html  https://columbiasurgery.org/conditions-and-treatments/pancreatitis  https://www.drugs.com/health-guide/alcohol-withdrawal.html