People who have digestive issues or disorders live with an abnormal amount of discomfort in their everyday lives. Not only do they often deal with symptoms such as abdominal and chest pain, weight fluctuation, diarrhea, constipation, or other issues – they must also face the anxiety of closely monitoring their diets so as not to make the symptoms worse.
Digestive Problems that Could Lead to Drug Abuse
Digestive issues can take many forms and affect people’s diets, social life, and overall health. While some people are able to deal with their issues by adhering to a certain diet or taking over-the-counter drugs, others may self-medicate with drugs that have potential for abuse. A few digestive issues that can lead people to self-medicate include the following:
- Heartburn or abdominal pain – Gastrointestinal reflux can cause stomach acid to rise into the esophagus, causing chest discomfort often referred to as heartburn. Chronic constipation and other disorders can cause abdominal pain. People looking to resolve these issues may self-medicate for different reasons: they may be too embarrassed to see a doctor, or discover that narcotic pain relievers ease the pain and anxiety.
- Food allergies – People who have food allergies often have to give up many foods that they enjoy. Some people find it necessary to changes their entire diets to avoid uncomfortable or even life-threatening symptoms. It is easy to take for granted the enjoyment that food brings to life, but people with food allergies may desire to fill the void left by the things they were once able to enjoy. They may use drugs that both produce euphoria and suppress the appetite, such a central nervous system stimulants to fill this void.
- Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) such as Cohn’s Disease – Crohn’s disease is one of many serious digestive disorders. Fatigue, loss of appetite, discomfort, pain, diarrhea, and constipation are just a few of the symptoms that people with this chronic disease must endure. Chronic diseases often cause as much emotional pain and anxiety as they do physical discomfort, and people with Crohn’s disease may turn to one of any number of substances, from anxiety medication, to narcotic pain relievers, to CNS stimulants in order to ease their pain.
How Certain Drugs Aggravate Digestive Issues
The majority of prescription medications list digestive issues such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, constipation, appetite changes, and weight loss or gain among their side effects. While many drugs may bring temporary relief, most of them are known to cause or aggravate digestive issues after persistent use. Rather than self-medicating and risking dependence and addiction, talk to you doctor about a safe and effective treatment for your digestive issues.
Prescription medications and illicit drugs aren’t the only types of drugs people can misuse. Over-the-counter pills such as laxatives can cause a great deal of harm to the body when used in large quantities. Some people take an inordinate amount of such medications to try to solve their digestive issues, only to endanger their already poorly functioning digestive systems.