Addiction takes a significant toll on your body, especially in the long term. When you enter into recovery, you must go through the effects of detox and withdrawal and then begin healing. This can take time, but the physical changes will be a great motivator to continue the path to sobriety. Seeing the before and after and recognizing how much better you feel after getting sober is a gift many recovering addicts get to experience.
The Physical Consequences of Addiction
Drugs and alcohol substantially impact the body, often leaving permanent damage to internal organs. The damage done varies depending on the type of drug used, the amount consumed, and how it is consumed. While these effects may be permanent, they are treatable over time with the proper care.
Health effects vary depending on the person and the severity of their addiction. It is common to believe that drug or alcohol abuse only has a severe effect on the brain, but this is simply not true. Long-term drug or alcohol addiction can lead to a weakened immune system. This puts the individual at a higher risk of contracting infection, disease, or illness. Heart problems can also occur, including the risk of heart attack, disorders of the blood vessels from injecting drugs, collapsed veins, and abnormal heart rate. Lung disease is also a risk.
Long-term alcoholism can put stress on the liver, which can result in liver failure. Abdominal pain can also occur, causing a person to often eat less. This can cause malnourishment, vitamin deficiencies, and unhealthy, rapid weight loss. Nausea is also a common occurrence.
Brain damage can also occur after long-term substance abuse. Such damage often results in mental confusion, difficulty making rational decisions, poor memory, problems concentrating, risk of stroke, and seizures.
Again, certain health problems can arise from specific drugs. For example, significant dental damage is often caused by methamphetamine use. HIV/AIDS can be contracted from using a contaminated needle to inject heroin. Inhalants are known to kill brain cells and cause damage to the nervous system.
Often, these health consequences have no cure. However, some treatments can be utilized. The first step to healing is getting sober, which on its own, can reverse some of these effects and make a person feel that much better and motivated to stay in recovery.
How Sobriety Heals the Body
As an individual goes through treatment, they will begin to notice gradual improvements in their overall health. These arise immediately after halting drug or alcohol use, during detox, after detox, and in the months and years following. Here is what happens to your body when you get sober.
Studies have shown that drugs and alcohol age skin. This is because the cells in the skin become damaged and begin aging more quickly, causing you to appear older. When you stop drinking or using drugs, your skin will start to look younger because it is aging less rapidly. Cells and organs begin to repair themselves, reducing the effects of aging.
Drugs and alcohol can cause insomnia and fatigue when used long term. This is why so many addicts struggle to get to sleep. During withdrawal, they may also face insomnia as their body releases toxins. However, sleep gets better, the longer you stay sober. Better sleep will make you feel and look better, which will aid in the recovery process. You will have the energy needed each day to stay motivated and sober.
Improved Liver Function
Liver damage caused by alcoholism can turn into cirrhosis if not treated in time. The only way to avoid this is to stop drinking. Cirrhosis happens when you drink too much, and your liver can’t remove the alcohol from your body in time. This becomes toxic to the liver, and scar tissue will build up over time due to alcohol abuse. When you stop drinking, you may begin to see an improved liver function in the months or years following your decision to get sober.
As discussed above, your heart takes a pretty big hit in terms of health as a result of alcohol or drug addiction. Over time, your heart attack risk will decrease since you are no longer using drugs or alcohol. Your heart rate will also return to normal and no longer be abnormal due to drug or alcohol use.
When a person struggles with addiction, they often aren’t eating the best, if they are eating at all. Many addicts suffer from abdominal pain and nausea, making the process of eating miserable. This often results in poor appetite and nutritional deficiencies. As you get sober, these symptoms will go away, and you can get back to a healthy diet. Many treatment centers emphasize the importance of a healthy diet in recovery because it gives you the proper nutrients you need and the energy to keep you happy, energized, and motivated in recovery.
Drug and alcohol addiction can take a severe toll on a person’s body. It can damage organs, your skin, and cause other health problems that may not be curable. However, getting sober will slowly heal your body over time. Seeing those that have struggled with addiction improve both mentally and physically over time is a blessing. At Choice House, we have seen clients come in broken with physical and mental struggles due to addiction and leave happy, healthy, and motivated in their sobriety. We understand how drug and alcohol abuse impacts the body, so we work diligently to heal our clients’ mental health and physical health. Addiction can leave you feeling pretty low, but it doesn’t have to stay that way forever. Through sobriety, you can begin to feel like yourself again. Call us today at (720) 577-4422 to find out how we can help you heal from addiction.