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Cracking Addiction

Meducate

Hosted by Addiction Medicine Specialist Dr Ferghal Armstrong and Dr Thileepan Naren. With topical discussions on all aspects of addiction medicine. New Episodes weekly.Visit our website for more information and free courses https://www.meducate.com.au/courses

Social comorbidity in substance use disorder
Apr 27 2022
Social comorbidity in substance use disorder
In episode 37 of Cracking Addiction we discuss in detail some of the social comorbidities associated with substance use disorders and what to screen for, be aware of and some management strategies to tackle these social comorbidities. Social isolation and alienation are some of the unfortunate hallmarks of substance use disorder. Some of the biggest social harms that occur to the patient are the harms that can occur with increased rates of unemployment, homelessness, broken relationships and social isolation. Loneliness appears to be a significant product and by-product of substance use disorder and can lead to worsening outcomes. Some of the social harms to society include the role of acquisitive crime to fund drug usage in some circumstances, increased rates of violence and domestic violence in particular as well as potential risks of child endangerment and child welfare concerns. It is important that we focus on safety with the above concerns, and that in the case of domestic violence and child abuse that medical practitioners are aware of their mandatory reporting requirements and also how to support women and children in particular who are at risk of violence or other harms and which supports and services one can refer them to. The role of incarceration in the management of substance use disorder is controversial. History has provided numerous examples of where prohibition of drugs was ineffective and incarceration for substance use disorder (which is a medical condition) does not appear to be effective in reducing drug usage or it’s associated harms. Effective treatment of substance use disorder and consideration of decriminalisation of drugs and managing patients through diversion and rehabilitation programs would likely be of more benefit for the individual and society as a whole. Furthermore, by marginalising people with substance use disorder and treating people like criminals and incarcerating people we risk alienating and further stigmatising people. From a governmental perspective this could include less people participating in the workforce and a loss of tax revenue, the costs of incarcerating people and the costs of the criminal justice system to process people through this system. In summary there are significant social comorbidities associated with substance use disorder. Treating people with substance use disorders holistically, understanding the potential struggles which they might encounter and providing appropriate assistance might help decrease the social harms associated with substance use disorder for both the individual but society as a whole. Latest Blogs Meducate ® Meducate provides online education for doctors, clinicians, health professionals and the public. See the website to browse the many different talks and courses available
Physical comorbidity in substance use disorder
Apr 20 2022
Physical comorbidity in substance use disorder
In episode 36 of Cracking Addiction we discuss in detail some of the physical comorbidities associated with substance use disorders and what to screen for, be aware of and some management techniques. People with substance use disorders often deal with many medical and physical issues that can impact both their quality of life but also increase the risks of morbidity and mortality. There are a number of medical and physical conditions that could be discussed but for the sake brevity this blog post will detail the following: • Chronic pain • Tobacco use • Infectious diseases • Chronic NSAID toxicity Chronic pain Chronic pain alters brain’s stress and reward systems and increases the risk for developing an opioid use disorder. It is thought that up to 30% of chronic pain patients misuse prescription opioids and this is becoming an increasingly problematic matter within society. Recent data and statistics reveal that prescription drug deaths in Victoria now exceed the road toll. The treatment and management of chronic non-cancer related pain is now moving away from a medication centred approach and indeed chronic opioid medication usage are associated with long-term harms within this group including increased risks of opioid induced hyperalgaesia, osteoporosis and hypothalamic pituitary gonadal axis dysfunction. The management of chronic non-cancer related pain now increasingly centres around active pain management strategies, physical therapy, allied health input and rehabilitation activities. Tobacco use Many patients with substance use disorders smoke tobacco and broaching smoking and tobacco cessation is important to improving the overall health and wellbeing of the patient. Oftentimes it appears other drugs and substances take priority of tobacco usage but tobacco usage is also associated with significant harms to the patient. It is important to discuss the harms of smoking with patients with substance use disorders and offer smoking cessation interventions. Tobacco usage is responsible for the majority of lung cancer and approximately one-third of all cancer related deaths. Tobacco use is also directly responsible for: cardiovascular disease, reduced immunity, poor wound healing, age related macular degeneration and worsening chronic pain. Infectious diseases Patients with substance use disorder are at increased risk of some infectious diseases and it is important to screen people appropriately. In particular people who inject drugs and share needles or who engage in commercial sex work to pay for drugs require screening for blood borne viruses and the latter group in particular will require a thorough sexually transmitted infection screen. Blood borne virus screening includes screening for Hepatitis B, C and HIV and STI screening includes screening for chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis in the first instance. People who inject drugs are also at risk of skin infections and abscesses as a result of injecting drug use and skin examination should be carried out periodically to exclude thrombophlebitis in veins, cellulitis and one should always consider the risks of infective endocarditis in the appropriate clinical scenario. It is important to be thorough and systematic in our physical examination of our patients and when ordering tests so as not to miss an important medical diagnosis. Chronic NSAID toxicity Codeine misuse and dependency associated with chronic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) toxicity. NSAIDS can ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract which can lead to bleeding and even perforation of the gastrointestinal tract in severe circumstances. Chronic NSAIDs usage can lead to iron deficiency with or without anaemia due to bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract. Chronic NSAID usage can also lead to recurrent metabolic acidosis and also cause significant renal impairment and lead to NSAID nephropathy which can be so severe as to need renal replacement therapy and can cause...