Addiction and Your Physical Health
As addiction progresses, it results in significant changes to your brain chemistry, behavior, mood, and health. Because addiction and your physical health are strongly connected, having a substance abuse disorder can weaken your immune system, increase your risk of contracting viruses like COVID-19, and can cause organ damage.
Substance abuse disorders and addiction are progressive and chronic conditions that can impact anyone. Research has yet to discover why only some people who use psychoactive substances develop a dependency. However, we do know that certain factors can increase your risk of developing an addiction.
Addiction and Your Physical Health
Addiction is a mental disorder that alters the way you think, feel, and act. Drugs and alcohol distort your thinking, which can cause impaired judgment, lowered inhibitions, and personality changes. Having a mental health disorder can increase your risk of struggling with addiction because drugs and alcohol can temporarily relieve symptoms like anxiety and depression. However, addiction ultimately aggravates underlying mental health and medical conditions. It creates significant neurotransmitter imbalances and overworks your organs, especially your liver.
Another way addiction and your physical health are connected is that addiction increases your exposure to communicable diseases. Common diseases for substance abusers include MRSA, Hepatitis, and HIV/AIDS. It’s also common during addiction to live an unhealthy lifestyle, as sleep deprivation and malnutrition are common consequences of addiction.
When it comes to addiction and your physical health, some conditions that substance abuse disorders cause, such as liver damage, are irreversible. That makes it important to complete treatment, as long-term substance abuse can cause chronic medical problems. Another thing to keep in mind when thinking about addiction and your physical health is that drug and alcohol use can also make you more likely to experience severe symptoms or complications if you get sick, whether from a cold or COVID-19.
The Brain, Addiction, and Your Physical Health
Because substance abuse disorders are chronic, symptoms continue to get worse until you recover. Treatment consists of providing you with education about addiction and teaching you how to cope with your symptoms. During addiction, your brain’s pleasure and reward center changes and it rewards your drug use and punishes abstinence by only releasing neurotransmitters when you use. Eventually, your brain becomes unable to release neurotransmitters when you don’t use, as your neurotransmitter receptors become damaged.
That means it’s normal to experience things like cravings and mood changes when you begin recovery. Treatment programs ensure that you have the tools and skills necessary to identify your triggers and utilize healthy coping strategies when you encounter cravings.
Addiction Treatment Programs
For those who want to end their addictions, substance abuse treatment programs are a must. At Crossroads Maine, addiction treatment programs include:
- Relapse prevention education
- Individual, group, and family counseling
- Inpatient and outpatient programs
- Holistic and evidence-based treatments
Understanding how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are related is another important aspect of treatment. When you can learn how to change negative thinking patterns and emotions, it limits your risk of relapsing. Since cravings and triggers occur even after you stop using, it’s important to find ways to cope with them during recovery.
If you have a co-occurring disorder, many treatment centers and rehabs offer specialized dual-diagnosis programs, which ensures that your mental health and substance abuse disorder are treated side-by-side. Treatment centers also focus on improving your physical health through healthy diets and exercise.
Come To Crossroads Maine
Addiction can make you feel like your life is out of control, which can make it difficult to work, develop healthy relationships, and pursue your goals. While substance abuse disorders can cause severe consequences, as addiction and your physical health are strongly connected, early treatment is essential for recovery.
Don’t let addiction leave you more susceptible to COVID-19. Call Crossroads Maine at 877.978.1667 for more information.