Many recovering from addiction have chronic health problems, diminished quality of life

Alcohol and other substance-use problems take enormous psychological and societal tolls on millions of Americans. Now a study from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Recovery Research Institute shows that more than a third of individuals who consider themselves in recovery from an alcohol or other substance use disorder continue to suffer from chronic physical disease. The study, published online March 20 in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, is the first to look at the national prevalence of medical conditions that are commonly caused or exacerbated by excessive and chronic alcohol and other drug use among people in addiction recovery.

“The prodigious psychological, social and interpersonal impact of excessive and chronic alcohol and other drug use is well characterized,” says lead and corresponding author David Eddie, PhD, research scientist at the Recovery Research Institute. “Less well appreciated is the physical disease burden, especially among those who have successfully resolved a significant substance use problem.”

Incorporating data from the landmark 2017 National Recovery Survey, the current study examined information from a nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 U.S. adults describing themselves as in recovery from problems with the use of alcohol, cannabis, opioids, stimulants or other drugs. Of these, 37 percent had been diagnosed with one or more of nine alcohol- and drug-exacerbated diseases and health conditions: liver disease, tuberculosis (TB), HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), cancer, hepatitis C, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and diabetes. The presence of these diseases was shown to be associated with significant reductions in participants’ quality of life, and all are known to reduce life expectancy.

Full story at Science Daily

COPD and anxiety: Researchers test promising approach

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease affects millions of people worldwide. Its main symptom is breathlessness, which can be distressing and causes many people with this lung condition to experience anxiety.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 3.17 millionpeople died from causes related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) worldwide in 2015 alone.

COPD symptoms — typically shortness of breath and coughing — can be more or less severe.

Full story at Medical News Today

Can you drink alcohol if you have COPD?

Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, are risk factors for developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Alcohol may be a contributing factor because of its relationship with tobacco, but researchers have found it difficult to identify an independent link between alcohol and the disease.

People who drink often smoke, which can make it challenging to distinguish a relationship between drinking alcohol and developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

However, the currently established links between COPD and alcohol use are significant enough that they may discourage people at risk of COPD from drinking.

No research has proved that drinking alcohol causes COPD, but some evidence suggests that drinking has specific adverse effects on people with the condition.

Full story at Medical News Today

Is there a link between marijuana and COPD?

Marijuana is legal for medical or recreational use in several parts of the United States. Researchers continue to investigate whether marijuana can cause or even help treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Some people use marijuana to relieve chronic pain, and there is growing interest in using marijuana to treat a range of other health issues, including epilepsy and the side effects of cancer treatment.

However, there is also concern that recreational use of marijuana increases a person’s risk of developing conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Full story at Medical News Today