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How To Heal Veins From IV Drug Use

Whether you’ve been struggling with IV drugs for months or years, you may be wondering how you can heal your veins and restore your circulation. Let’s take a look at how to heal your veins from IV drug use.

How does IV drug use damage your veins?

Frequent IV drug use can cause both short and long-term damage due to repeated puncture injuries to the vein. In addition, IV drug use puts people at a higher risk of communicable diseases, such as HIV, when unsanitary needles are used.

Short term damage includes:

  • IV drug use is minimally invasive and always carries the risk of infection
  • Track marks
  • Blown veins (when a punctured vein leaks blood into the surrounding tissue, causing bruising, swelling, or lumps underneath your skin)

Long-term damage includes:

What is a collapsed vein?

A collapsed vein is a vein that has caved in, preventing normal blood flow. This injury typically occurs over time due to repeated damage at a single injection site. Blunt or barbed needles and improper injection techniques can increase the risk of causing this injury. A collapsed vein can cause decreased circulation, cold hands and feet, and pain at the injection site.

Collapsed veins can sometimes recover on their own. However, a vein that has permanently collapsed will never recover and cannot be repaired, so it’s important to avoid causing this issue by seeking treatment.

How to heal your veins after IV drug use

Your body does an excellent job at repairing itself when given the opportunity. That’s why it’s most important to seek treatment to overcome your addiction if you are struggling with IV drug use.

Beyond seeking treatment, there are several things you can do to help speed the process along. It’s important to talk to your doctor or rehab team before making any changes to your recovery plan.

  • If you cannot immediately stop using IV drugs for any reason, stop injecting into the same vein. This will give your damaged vein time to heal and prevent further damage.
  • Some individuals may benefit from vasodilator medications which improve circulation by increasing blood flow through the veins. It’s important to discuss this option with your doctor instead of attempting to self-medicate.
  • Exercise, similarly, can stimulate blood flow through your veins and help encourage repair throughout your body.
  • Compression socks or bands can help encourage healthy blood flow, but it’s important to talk to your doctor to make sure these are right for you.
  • Surgical options such as lasers may be used to help repair veins in some individuals.

How long does it take for damaged veins to heal?

Everyone’s body heals at a different rate, so there is no single, set duration of time at which damaged veins might heal. On top of this, there are a few other factors that can impact how long it will take your veins to recover.

  • The extent of the vein damage
  • Any preexisting health conditions
  • The individual’s overall health
  • Whether the individual continues to use IV drugs at the same injection site during recovery

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