Do Drug Rehab Centers Accept Diabetics?

Diabetics who suffer from substance use disorders are at an especially increased risk for serious adverse health effects, including some that may be life-threatening. This is why it’s important for diabetics to get effective, professional addiction treatment support.

Those facing both diabetes and substance use disorders may have concerns about managing their condition while in a rehab program, or they may not be sure if local treatment programs will take them in at all.

In fact, diabetics are welcome to participate in all forms of outpatient and inpatient substance abuse treatment and, for their own safety, should absolutely participate in a suitable licensed and accredited rehab program at the earliest opportunity.

Diabetes & Addiction

Those who struggle with substance abuse, drug addiction, or alcohol addiction and who also have prediabetes or diabetes mellitus are at serious risk for a variety of different health problems.

Unfortunately, studies have found that a greater proportion of those with diabetes abuse substances (particularly alcohol) and develop substance use disorders compared to the American population as a whole.

Addiction in diabetics is thought to stem, at least in part, from high rates of diabetic neuropathy among those with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, with up to 20% of American diabetics experiencing chronic neuropathic pain.

Substance abuse involving alcohol, opioids, or other drugs may provide temporary pain relief in these situations, but with serious long-term consequences for a person’s overall physical, mental, and behavioral health.

Health Risks

Diabetic-specific risks are related to the body’s glucose levels. Different drugs of abuse are known to significantly influence glucose metabolism in the body, potentially resulting in either high or low glucose levels (hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia), respectively.

Both of these conditions can be dangerous to those with diabetes, and may even cause:

  • kidney disease or other organ damage
  • severe nerve damage and limb loss
  • high blood pressure, associated with various forms of heart disease
  • blood vessel damage associated with heart attacks, stroke, and atherosclerosis
  • diabetic ketoacidosis, which can lead to coma or death without prompt medical treatment
  • diabetic retinopathy and eye damage
  • fatty liver disease/cirrhosis of the liver

How Different Drugs Of Abuse Impact Diabetics

Different substances can have different and sometimes paradoxical effects on a person’s blood sugar level, potentially triggering serious health conditions for those with either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

These substances include:

  • cannabis, which does not directly influence glucose levels but can increase a person’s appetite and decrease inhibition, contributing to poor self-care and high blood sugar levels
  • alcohol, with heavy or chronic alcohol use producing alcohol-induced hyperglycemia and/or prolonged delayed onset alcohol-induced hypoglycemia
  • opioids, as common prescription or illicit narcotics like oxycodone, heroin, fentanyl, and others slow metabolic processes in the body, causing blood sugar levels to increase
  • stimulants, as cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription ADHD medications can directly increase blood sugar levels and the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, and also indirectly increase this risk by suppressing appetite, disrupting sleep cycles, and making diabetics less likely to take their medication or eat healthy foods on a normal schedule

Rehab & Diabetes Care

Health professionals working in rehab facilities are able to help diabetics by equipping them with the knowledge, motivation, skills, and support they need to better manage their health and substance abuse in the future.

Physical Evaluation

The rehab process begins with a physical evaluation as part of the intake process, which can sometimes result in patients being diagnosed with diabetes for the very first time, as approximately 1 in 4 people who have diabetes are unaware of their condition.

Detox & Treatment Services

The evaluation may then be followed by medically assisted detoxification and formal inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment services.

Diabetes Management

A participant’s treatment plan while in rehab should also be adjusted as needed to include diabetes management interventions such as:

  • mental health care for anxiety, depression, eating disorders, or other common mental disorders associated with diabetes (dual diagnosis treatment services)
  • training to use a glucose monitor or insulin pump
  • training to recognize and respond to common diabetes symptoms
  • diabetes diet options, physical activity, weight loss, and other self-care and lifestyle changes
  • treatment with diabetes medications

Long-Term Outlook

There are more resources and tools available today for diabetes treatment and substance use disorder recovery than ever before.

By getting help, making positive changes, and intentionally reducing key risk factors, you can increase your chances of living a long and prosperous life without serious health complications.

These changes should include:

  • avoiding obesity
  • increasing exercise and physical activity
  • healthy eating
  • routinely testing blood glucose levels
  • taking diabetes medications exactly as prescribed
  • developing positive stress management techniques
  • avoiding future substance abuse
  • getting regular checkups with your healthcare provider

Drug and alcohol addiction can be harmful or deadly for anyone, but especially so to those who also face different types of diabetes. If you or a loved one would benefit from professional addiction treatment services, please contact Northeast Addictions Treatment Center today.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

Published on

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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