COVID-19 attacks everyone but it hits those with compromised immune systems and the elderly the hardest. When it comes to addiction and your physical health, you can be classified as a high-risk individual. What exactly does it mean to be a high-risk individual? It means someone is more likely to catch the virus than someone healthy not abusing drugs or alcohol. It also means that you have less of a chance of surviving if you do catch it. Drugs and alcohol severely compromise a person’s immune system.
Why the Immune System is Important
Your entire body works like a machine. Each part has a job to perform and each system is dependent on several parts. The brain itself is what sends out the instructions to each part, telling it what is needed and where it is needed. If there is a problem anywhere in this system, everything is thrown off balance. Where the immune system is concerned, there are a few minor parts involved but mainly the system relies on the brain sending out a message to the liver that something is wrong. The liver then sends out a chemical that triggers antibodies, including white blood cells, to be released. When the antibodies have done what is necessary, which is to kill any dangerous things like viruses that enter the body, they are reabsorbed.
In the meantime, the liver cleans the blood and adds protein and vitamins that it has stored from the food you eat. This blood then helps keep other body parts healthy. When something goes wrong, the immune cells can’t kill invaders, or they go rogue and attack necessary cells in the body.
Addiction and Your Physical Health
Drugs and alcohol are things your body considers foreign at first. This is why when you first start using them, you often find yourself ill. Over time, however, they create changes in both the body and the brain that makes the body believe the substance is okay so the immune system isn’t triggered. This is often done because drugs like marijuana actually block the signals to the immune system and opioids directly affect white blood cells. Other drugs then have the chance to do damage to the liver, respiratory system, and other body organs.
Add to all this the lack of proper nutrition and sleep that most addicts experience, along with the tendency to do more risky things like have unprotected sex, smoke tobacco, and not practice proper hygiene, and you have a bomb about to explode. When a virus like COVID-19 appears, your body simply can’t fight it. Often, it doesn’t get the message that it should try.
Once you make a decision to get clean and sober, you remove the damaging substances from your body. At first, your body, which has become used to the presence of this substance, will protest. But then something wonderful happens, you begin to heal. There will be some damage that may be too severe to heal completely, but other damage will reverse itself. The lungs, for example, can often repair themselves completely after a period of ten years. Each day you give yourself a greater chance of being able to fight off the illnesses. You may eventually even be able to prevent catching some.
How Integrative Life Center Can Help
Addiction not only holds you captive to the drugs or alcohol, but it also makes you a ready captive for an illness like the COVID-19 to wreak havoc and possibly take your life. You have the power to change that. There are people ready and willing to help you get on the road to recovery. All they need you to do is take that first step. Reach out to Integrative Life Center for help today at 615.455.3903.