Hepatitis-C Rehab

Heatitis C 1-888-781-7060

Drug use, abuse and addiction, especially IV drug use, is dangerous in its own right, but many addicted individuals suffer from diseases that they are directly related to reckless behaviors connected to drug addiction. Many of these diseases also put their loved ones and families at risk as well. The major diseases and problems are:

Hepatitis C, Hep C or HCV

Hepatitis C is an infection caused by the hepatitis C virus, or HCV. In later stages it can seriously damage the liver by causing cirrhosis and liver cancer.

The hepatitis C virus is carried in the blood, and a person becomes infected with hep C if they come into contact with the blood of an infected person. The highest risk of infection is from sharing used needles, syringes or other drug-using equipment. You DO NOT become infected by Hep C by sharing living space with an infected person, or kissing, sharing toilets, tableware, or kitchen utensils.

Viral hepatitis is caused by infection with any of at least five distinct viruses, of which the three most commonly identified in the United States are hepatitis A virus (HAV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). All three of these unrelated viruses can produce an acute illness characterized by nausea, malaise, abdominal pain, and jaundice. HBV and HCV also can produce a chronic infection that is associated with an increased risk for chronic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma

The major vehicle of transmition is via blood and about 5 to 10% of those infected contracted the disease from transfusions. However, the IV drug users represent the largest single risk group. Hepatitis C infection among intravenous drug users occurs at an alarming rate in the same manner as HIV, by the sharing of contaminated needles and syringes. Studies of Hep C antibody detection how that from 50 to even 100% of IV drug user exhibit the anitbody for this virus. IV drug users account for 30 to 40% of the identified cases and about 50% of the new cases. It is currently estimated that between 2.7 million and 4.0 million persons in the United States have chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.

Sexual contact is clearly a means of transmitting hep C. Several studies of sexual activity risk factors report rates of infection between 1 and 18% for homosexually active individuals, 1 to 10% among heterosexually active individuals, and 1 to 12% among female prostitutes, with the primary risk factors for infection being those with greater numbers of partners, those wtih unprotected sex, or those that have other STDs (sexually transmited diseases), or those who have had traumatic sexual activity. Abpout 13% of those people who have partners with Hep C and are having heterosexual relations have contracted the virus.

Tattooing, body piercing, and acupuncture, have also contributed to the spread of the Hep C virus (HCV).Some research has shown that the ink used in tattooing can be a carrier of the HCV.

Some individuals do not take the Hep C virus seriously because it doesn't make the individual as sick as most helpatitis cases, but Liver failure due to hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States.

Living with Hep C can be frustrating and debilitating, but it doesn't have to be a deadly outcome if those infected will take responsibility for their disease. Continuing to use or be addicted to alcohol or other drugs will definitely hasten the progression of the disease, so if you or a loved one has tested positive for HCV, it is imperative that you end your alcohol and drug use. If stoping alcohol and other drug use/abuse isn't possible, then it is a matter of life and death that you call Colorado Drug Rehab, 877-888-4802, to find remedies for your addiction as well as advice on the treatment of Hep C.

There are many variations of the Hep C virus and it has been the experience of the Colorado Drug Rehab counselors that if an infected individual takes the right measures to stay healthy, that they can live with this virus for years and it won't be the cause of any health problems in their lives. It is a real "wakeup call" for those that are using drugs or are addicted to alcohol and drugs that they will damage their lives quickly if they don't stop their abuse.

The informtion from research that household members are at risk for contracting the HCV is valid, but in all of our experience, we have not found this to be the case. Granted, we are talking about recovered addicts that are taking possitive measures to protect their livers and are not abusing them with alcohol and other drugs, but we have many cases, over the years, who have even had liver transplants, whose spouses never contract the virus.

The traditional treatment for HCV is nterferon, alone or combined with ribavirin. However, not everyone with hepatitis C responds to drug therapy, and these drugs have fairly side effects that are intolerable to many. The worse side effect is fairly signaficant depression and this is somewhat universal with these drugs. Most people that are struggling with addiciton are not needing to take anything to make them more depressed or to exhabit labile emotions, which will lead to self-medication.

Western medicine can present morbid news easier than the positive slant, even when the positive news is the truth. There are many folk remedies that "cleanse" the liver and even though it isn't Colorado Drug Rehab's policy to prescribe medical practices, we can advice anyone that has tested positive for HCV to consult more health care practitioners than merely hepotologist and internist. It has been our experience that many of those we have counseled with HCV have not done well with traditional medical interventions, but because there are so many different genotypes (different types) of the HCV, it is important that you are not cavalere about your problem, but on the other hand, it is our recommendation that you seek alternative treatments that have been succesful with others. There are herbs that are specifically given for Hep C as well as staying healthy with antioxidants and other vitamins allows your body to use its eneregy to keep the HCV at check.

There are many herbal products that claim to be beneficial for the liver, and hepatitis C patients who do not respond to conventional drug therapy, cannot tolerate its side effects, or simply want to support their body's fight against the disease should try these types of products. A survey of a little over 1,000 participants in the HALT-C (Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment Against Cirrhosis) trial, a study supported by the National Institutes of Health, found that 23 % were using herbal products when they were contacted for the study. Many different herbal products were used, but silymarin (milk thistle) was by far the most common.This study found that silymarin use by hepatitis C patients was associated with fewer and milder symptoms of liver disease and somewhat better quality of life, but there was no change in virus activity or liver inflammation. (This statement is entirely too scientific since our staff has proven that milk thistle has been of significant benefit to those with hepatitis.)

Milk thistle is generally well tolerated and has shown few side effects in clinical trials involving patients with liver disease. It may cause a laxative effect, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal bloating, fullness, and mild pain, and it can produce allergic reactions (especially among people who are allergic to plants in the same family, such as ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, and daisy).

There are other suppliments that are being studies for Hep C:

  • Ginseng has shown some beneficial effects on the liver in laboratory studies but has not yet shown effects in people. Thymus extract and colloidal silver are sometimes marketed for the treatment of hepatitis C, but there is currently no research to support their use for this purpose. Colloidal silver products can cause serious side effects (for more information, see the NCCAM fact sheet Colloidal Silver Products).
  • People with chronic liver disease sometimes use licorice root or its extract glycyrrhizin. Some studies, reported from outside the United States, have looked at glycyrrhizin administered intravenously for hepatitis C. Preliminary evidence from these studies suggests that glycyrrhizin may have beneficial effects against hepatitis C. However, additional research is needed before reaching any conclusions.
  • Preliminary studies conducted primarily outside the United States have examined the potential of the following herbal products for treating chronic hepatitis C: lactoferrin, TJ-108 (a mixture of herbs used in Japanese Kampo medicine), schisandra, and oxymatrine (an extract from the sophora root). More research is needed before the safety and effectiveness of these products can be fully evaluated.

o find a clinical trial, visit the NCCAM Web site for a list of all NCCAM-funded clinical trials, or contact the NCCAM Clearinghouse. You can also search ClinicalTrials.gov, a database of thousands of clinical studies being sponsored by NIH, other Federal agencies, and the pharmaceutical industry. Click HERE for these resources. This site also has a tremendous bibliography for alternative medicines for HCV. It has been our experience that the National Center on Complimentary and Alternative Medicine is a very useful website for all chronic diseases.

Using alcohol and drugs will only cause more liver damage and some states are not allowing alcoholics or drug addicts to be on the list for liver transplants since they have proven to not end their addiction after surgery and they have to make their decisions on what is the greatest good for the greatest numbers of those needing a liver transplant.

Most importantly, if you or a loved one is currently addicted to alcohol or other drugs, it is urgent that you seek alcohol treatment or drug rehab immediately if you have tested positive for Hepatitis C. Your first step in handling your liver problem is to stop those actions that caused the problem and are prolonging the disease. You life is at risk if you don't call NOW!