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Should You Tell Your Primary Care Doctor about Prior Drug Use?


February 20, 2018
You are feeling tentative about talking with your doctor. Whether your addiction treatment was a long time ago or you have just come out of rehab, if you have a doctor who is unaware of your history, do you really need to talk about your prior drug use? Here is why that conversation is important, even if you have been sober for a long time.

It Is Important for a Correct Diagnosis

If you had surgery for cancer in the past, you would tell your doctor about what led to it, how the surgery went, and any complications that you might have had after the surgery. That allows your doctor to provide appropriate diagnoses that work with all of the information available. The same goes for a history of drug use. For example, if you are having problems with your sense of smell, that could be linked to your past use of cocaine. However, it could also be due to allergies, problems with your adenoids, or a head injury or brain tumor, according to HealthLine. Talking with your doctor about your history of drug use will help your doctor move onto the right track when it is time to diagnose acute or chronic health conditions.

Past Drug Use Could Put You At Risk of Future Use

If your drug use is far in the past, why do you need to bring it up with your doctor? Unfortunately, using drugs can put you at risk of using again. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “animal research suggests that binging on cocaine during adolescence enhances sensitivity to the rewarding effects of cocaine and MDMA. Thus, binge use of cocaine during adolescence may further increase vulnerability to continued use of the drug among some people.” Also, if you need strong drugs for pain or other conditions, your doctor can take your past history of drug use into account when prescribing solutions for your health conditions. That way, you and your doctor can work as a team to keep you sober and healthy, rather than working at cross-purposes. Addiction treatment

Your Mental and Physical Health Are Connected

Drug use can be a response to stress and depression, and it can cause stress, depression, and other mental health effects as well. If you used drugs as a response to past stress and you are under stress again, it is helpful for your doctor to know this. That way, your doctor can investigate solutions to your mental health challenges with full knowledge of your past addiction and try to help prevent you from moving into a state of poor mental health or addiction again. When you are talking with your doctor, the information that you share is confidential. Your doctor will not tell your friends, spouse, or the public about your past drug abuse. The only reason your doctor needs to know is to help you with the chronic conditions, health effects, and mental health challenges that a past with drug abuse can bring. At Advanced Recovery Systems, we want to ensure that you are successful in your addiction treatment and in your ongoing recovery. We understand the complexity of treatment. Are you curious about getting support during and after rehab? Contact us today.
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