How Do Veins Collapse from Intravenous Drug Use?

If you inject drugs too much it can cause your vein to collapse which can be quite painful. Why does this happen from injecting drugs and how you can reduce the harm caused by IV drug use?

Getting collapsed veins is a very real and very common problem with those who are intravenous drug users. Long-term or habitual IV drug users will most likely develop one or more collapsed veins due to a recurring injury from IV use to the same vein. While recovering from IV drug use is possible and recommended, the damage inflicted on your veins can be permanent and lead to serious complications to your health.

How Do Veins Collapse from Intravenous Drug Use?

What Causes a Vein to Collapse?

A collapsed vein occurs because of a chronic injury as a result of intravenous drug use. After someone repeatedly injects into the same vein for weeks or even months, the internal lining in the vein will become swollen before it collapses all together causes the blood flow in that vein to stop.

What Causes Permanently Vein Collapse?

In many cases, the vein can recover over time once the swelling goes away, and then the blood flow can return to normal. However, a permanent collapse is a very real possibility. Many different things can cause a vein to collapse permanently, such as:

  • Use of a blunt needle
  • Repeat use on the same vein for drug use
  • Removing the needle too quickly after injecting
  • Improper injection technique
  • Using drugs that irritate the veins and lead o inflammation

When you have a collapsed vein, you may experience acute pain at the injection site, discoloration at the injection site, and cold feet or hands from an insufficient flow of blood, as well as itchiness and pain once the vein starts to heal. 

Treatment for a Collapsed Vein

Treating a collapsed vein is very simple. The best thing, but also the hardest thing to do, is to stop using drugs intravenously or stop using drugs altogether. You can also stop injecting into the same vein over and over. This gives the vein time to heal and will help prevent any further damage. Some different supplements and vitamins can assist in treating veins that are inflamed. For example, vitamin C is a proven treatment that can help ease the inflammation related to collapsed veins.

Collapsed Veins Can Cause Health Issues

When a vein has permanently collapsed, and there is no way to repair itself, sometimes smaller, new veins will form to replace the one that can no longer function and carry blood through the body. However, these slammer veins do not give enough blood flow, and impaired circulation will be the result. Poor circulation can lead to many serious health issues like heart problems, kidney disease, stroke, and even cyanosis of the limbs due to insufficient oxygen supply and causes numbness and tingling in the limbs.

How to Avoid a Collapsed Vein?

Even if you cannot fully quit at the moment, you should take every precaution to reduce the harm caused by IV drug use. Some things you can do to avoid a collapsed vein include:

  • Find a needle exchange program if possible, or always use new needles. Blunt needles are a huge reason collapsed veins occur.
  • Make sure you do not hit an artery. Arteries and veins are very close together, so if you hit one, take the needle out and apply a lot of pressure to the injection site.
  • Do not inject into small veins such as the ones in your hands. Since they are smaller, they collapse more easily.
  • Do not inject into bruised or swollen places.
  • Always clean the area beforehand to prevent any dirt or debris from entering into the vein.
  • Don’t tie a tourniquet too tight.

Get Help from Drug Addiction

Suppose you are ready to stop using drugs altogether. We have addiction specialists that can help you find the right treatment for you. It is time you take that step to help you on your path to a happier and healthier lifestyle, free from addiction. If you are struggling with addiction, it is time to get sober and start a new life before it is too late. Give us a call today; all calls are free and confidential.