What Is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a viral infection that spreads via contaminated blood, causing liver inflammation and damage. Because symptoms can take decades to emerge, many people with this illness don’t know they have a virus. Without detection and treatment, this “silent” infection can damage your liver enough to lead to severe health problems.
Hepatitis C Symptoms
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends all adults have a doctor screen them for hepatitis C, even asymptomatic people with no family history of liver disease.
Warning signs include:
- Bleeding and bruising easily
- Lack of an appetite
- Yellow skin and eyes
- Dark-colored urine
- Itchy skin
- Fluid buildup in your abdomen
- Swelling in your legs
- Weight loss
- Confusion, drowsiness and slurred speech
- Spider angiomas
One to three months after exposure to the virus, you can develop acute hepatitis C. Though the acute phase is often asymptomatic, some people experience jaundice, fatigue, nausea, fevers and body aches. Acute HCV can become chronic, but about 25% of people naturally eliminate the virus from their bodies – a phenomenon called spontaneous viral clearance.
Who Is at Risk?
You can increase your risk of hepatitis C and other viruses by injecting drugs like heroin using a shared needle. Syringes with detachable needles are even more dangerous because they can retain more blood after use than fixed-needle syringes. According to one CDC report, rates of acute hepatitis C infections have increased concurrently with the nationwide opioid crisis. When risk information is available, 72% of people with acute hepatitis C report having used injection drugs.
The circumstances contributing to the worsening opioid epidemic have combined with a lack of awareness and access to treatment programs, thus increasing the number of hepatitis C infections in the U.S.
How to Manage HCV
Until relatively recently, hepatitis C treatment required weekly injections and oral medications that could cause other health problems or dangerous side effects. Fortunately, that’s changing. Today, chronic hepatitis C is usually curable with oral medications taken daily for two to six months.
If you got infected with the virus that causes hepatitis C from injecting drugs, you could also benefit from a comprehensive addiction treatment program that allows you to regain your well-being with proven therapies. Unfortunately, stigmas and misconceptions surrounding drug abuse can prevent many people from seeking the care they need for substance use disorders and related physical and mental health problems.
The Benefits of Personalized Recovery
At Beach House, we understand every client comes to us with unique needs. Clients enrolled in our program can identify the underlying causes of their addiction and meet others who have experienced similar challenges in life, becoming empowered to discover their full potential.
Since our founding in 2016, Beach House has worked to become one of the nation’s leading treatment centers. The unique qualities that have helped us achieve that goal include:
- An industry-leading client-to-therapist ratio
- A commitment to clinically excellent practices
- A unique culture that fosters a therapeutic alliance
- Specialized programming for clients and their family members
- A beautiful, secluded campus located in Juno Beach, Florida
To learn more about finding freedom from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders, contact our knowledgeable admissions counselors today. All calls are 100% confidential.