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May 27, 2022

What Does Addiction Do To Your Body?

The trials and tribulations that addiction sufferers have to endure are well-documented. That includes everything from financial problems to lost relationships and employment.

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May 27, 2022

What doesn't get much mention is how drug and alcohol addiction can wreck the human body. To be clear, extended periods of substance abuse do cause harm to the human body. If you have been living in the cycle of addiction, thoughts about what is happening to your body are probably the furthest concerns in your mind. As addiction treatment professionals, we want to caution you about neglecting your physical health. Remember: the longer you stay in the cycle of addiction, the more damage that is being done to your mental health and body. At this point, we believe it would be prudent to let you know what could be happening to your body right now. If you know, there is a chance it might give you cause to pause. Cause to pause could open the door to you seeking the help you need.

How Drugs and Alcohol Affect Your Brain

The brain is the computer that controls the way your body functions. If something affects your brain, it stands to reason it will eventually affect your physical body. When someone uses drugs or alcohol, the chemicals go right to the pleasure receptors in the brain. The pleasure receptors react by releasing endorphins, which create the euphoria casual drinkers and drug users often report. Here's when problems arise. Constant use of drugs or alcohol means the brain's pleasure receptors are always getting bombarded by stimuli. At some point, the brain is going to develop a dependence on that stimuli. If that dependence gets violated, it can cause the brain and body to revolt in the form of withdrawal symptoms. At the same time dependence issues are developing, the brain ceases to send the much-needed chemicals and neurotransmitters to certain parts of the body. If that happens over a long period of time, those parts of the body will cease to function as they should. That ultimately opens the door to drugs and alcohol directly affecting the body's muscles and organs.

Certain areas of the brain suffer significant damage when exposed to extended periods of drug abuse and/or alcohol abuse. Brain damage and mental illness are a direct result of this and come with long-term effects such as inhibited decision-making skills, nervous system fatigue, mental disorders such as depression, body temperature regulation, and many other health problems.

How Drugs and Alcohol Affect the Body

The human body is intended to work like a well-oiled machine. It only works that way when the body is getting the right food to use as fuel and the right exercise to keep it "tuned up." What do we know about people caught in the cycle of addiction? They neglect things like eating properly and getting exercise. They can only do that for so long before brain function, muscles and organs start breaking down.As the muscles and organs start breaking it down, it causes additional problems: it opens the door to life-threatening health issues and compromises the immune system. A compromised immune system opens the door to potentially dangerous bacterial and viral infections and diseases that many drug users are exposed to regularly such as hepatitis.Aside from weakening the immune system, here are some other health conditions that are common among people who have been using drugs or alcohol for an extended period:

  • Weakens veins and arteries, which often results in heart attacks and strokes
  • Causes digestive problems that can result in chronic issues with vomiting and diarrhea
  • Deadens the substance user's appetite, which can result in dangerous weight loss
  • The sugar in alcohol can damage the liver and cause the creation of diabetes
  • A weak immune system diminishes the body's ability to fight off lung and heart diseases
  • The onset of chronic heart rate and blood pressure problems

Unfortunately, this is a partial list of the ways addiction can damage the human body.

Healing the Body During Recovery

As you can see, your addiction is putting your physical health at risk. However, there is good news. Your body has an amazing ability to mend itself when given the chance. If you were to seek help for your addiction, you would give yourself an opportunity to restore everything in your life, including your physical and mental health.In our Hollywood Hills Recovery Center, we include a focus on health as part of our treatment process. We help our clients get their physical health back on track by making sure they eat right and get exercise throughout the day. Our hope is what we teach about physical health is something our clients will take with them and use during their recovery. If you follow good eating habits and exercise, your body will reward you by mending the health issues that were caused by your addiction. If you would like more information about our treatment process and managing your health in recovery, please give us a call as soon as possible.

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