Alcohol and prescription drugs have a place in our society. Many people enjoy a drink or two, and moderate drinking has health benefits such as reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular death and disease. Prescription drugs are used to treat a host of medical conditions, such as diabetes, infection, or chronic pain. However, substance abuse, whether it is binge drinking or using prescription or illegal drugs recreationally, can have a severe impact on a person’s health and may lead to dependence and addiction. If you are struggling with addiction, don’t delay treatment because of rehab waiting lists. Too many people accidentally overdose every day while waiting to receive treatment for their addictions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines binge drinking as drinking enough alcohol to raise the blood alcohol level to 0.08 or higher; for men, this typically involves drinking five or more drinks in two hours, and for women, four or more drinks in two hours. People who binge drink regularly can become dependent on alcohol. Their bodies become so accustomed to alcohol that they feel sick without it. They may use it as a means of coping with stress and forget how to handle stress without drinking. Personal relationships suffer as the person prioritizes drinking over spending time with friends and family.
Over time, heavy drinking damages a person’s health. Adverse consequences of alcohol abuse include:
- Hepatitis (liver inflammation)
- Increased blood pressure
- Damaged heart muscle
- Increased risk of certain cancers, including mouth, larynx, pharynx, liver, esophagus, breast, rectum, and colon
- Violent crime
- Automobile accidents
- Alcohol poisoning
Drug Abuse Effects
Many people start out using recreational drugs just to try them out or because they enjoy the high, but that can easily lead to addiction, and with it, the health consequences of addiction. Prescription drugs such as OxyContin or fentanyl, street drugs such as crystal meth, marijuana, heroin, or cocaine—all take a toll on the body. The physical consequences of drug abuse depend on the type of drug used but include:
- Death from overdose
- Heart attack
- Brain damage
- Increased risk of infections, including HIV and hepatitis C
- Collapsed veins
- Bowel problems
- Kidney damage or failure
- Liver damage or failure
- Increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases
Reasons for Addiction Rehab Waiting Lists
It can be tough for an addict to admit they struggle with substance abuse, reach out for help, and seek placement in a rehab facility. But for those who do so, there may not be a place available when they are ready for treatment. Sadly, many people die from addiction before they can enter treatment. Each day in America, 144 people die from a lethal drug overdose. But unfortunately, rehab waiting lists are very common today. Three main reasons keep people from receiving treatment when they need it:
Lack of Space: There are more addicts than beds available in residential rehab programs. Wait times for such facilities can vary from a month and a half to a year. Non-residential programs may also have long waiting lists. Hospitals do not have to admit people for detox because it is not considered a medical emergency.
Lack of Money: Not all insurance companies consider addiction to be a medical disease, and so they can easily deny coverage for treatment. Treatment is financially prohibitive for many people.
Lack of specialists: There is a shortage of doctors who specialize in rehab medicine. Only a physician can prescribe medication-assisted treatments such as methadone or buprenorphine.
Waiting to seek treatment can be a death sentence—do not delay if you are ready to enter recovery. If you or someone you love struggles with addiction, let us help you find a rehab facility today.