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Managing Chronic Illness during Rehab

A common setback for individuals seeking addiction rehab treatment is the presence of a chronic illness. Sometimes the illness may mask the addiction, and individuals are not aware they even need rehab. Other times people fear rehab, because they believe their chronic illness will be neglected or worsen.

How Do Chronic Illnesses Affect Individuals?

Individuals who have never faced a chronic illness do not understand its ability to handicap a person both physically and emotionally. Chronic illness can be painful, isolating and exhausting, and they interfere with an individual’s ability to live a normal everyday life. Those suffering from chronic illness or pain are often limited to certain activities. This can isolate the individual from others and lead to feelings of loneliness, depression and hopelessness. While most people struggling with a chronic illness take medication and receive treatment, symptoms can still interfere with daily life. Having to get rehab treatment can be a frightening change for someone with chronic illness.

Why Do Chronic Illness and Addiction Occur Together?

Chronic illness can exist independent of addiction, but the two disorders frequently occur simultaneously. Addiction can be the cause of chronic illness and vice versa. When these two disorders exist at the same time, they are referred to as co-occurring or Dual Diagnosis disorders. Addiction can lead to the development of several chronic illnesses such as the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease

People living with a preexisting chronic illness are also susceptible to substance abuse and addiction. The stress and pain created by the illness can cause people to attempt self-medication through drugs or alcohol. Dealing with a chronic illness on a daily basis can cause even the strongest of individuals to seek relief and comfort. If drugs or alcohol can provide a quick escape or heightened mood, a person may believe it is worth the risk. Unfortunately co-occurring disorders are dangerous, because they perpetuate one another. One chronic illness masks the other, while each multiplies any underlying symptoms and pain.

Learning How to Manage Chronic Illness and Addiction in Rehab

Rehab professionals are aware of the commonality of co-occurring chronic illnesses. Both addiction and chronic illness can be treated during rehab. This specialized form of treatment is called integrated treatment, and rehab professionals will treat both disorders at the same time. Patients will learn healthy alternatives for managing their chronic illness, while they also address underlying issues related to addiction. Both disorders must be treated simultaneously for lasting recovery and reduced relapse risk.

Rehabilitation Programs that Treat Addiction and Chronic Illness

Rehab programs that treat both addiction and chronic illnesses exist and are within your reach. Call our 24 hour helpline to learn about your options and how integrated treatment can benefit you. All calls are free and confidential, so call today to find a rehab program that specializes in your exact recovery needs.