Connections Between Addiction and Illness Vulnerability

There are a few forms of negative impact that addiction can have on the body and overall health, and one of the more well-known such areas here is an increase in vulnerability to certain illnesses. Some people who struggle with addiction, particularly in the form of substance abuse, find that they’re more prone to getting sick or dealing with other health maladies – why exactly is this?

At Moonlight Mountain Recovery, we’re here to offer numerous forms of addiction recovery for patients around Boise, Washington and Oregon, including both outpatient and inpatient recovery programs depending on the specific circumstances. Here are some of the key reasons why addiction often leads to increased vulnerability to illness, plus some of the specific illnesses that those managing addiction may be more prone to – and some words on why addiction treatment may help in both areas.

Addiction and Inflammation

Particularly with regard to alcohol addiction, but also with other forms of substance abuse, there’s an increased risk of inflammation in the body. This is due to a depressed immune system that can’t fight off foreign agents as well as it should – meaning colds and flus become more likely, but also more serious illnesses such as cancer or heart disease.

For instance, people who struggle with alcohol addiction may have an increased risk for cancer in parts of the body such as the lungs or liver, due to a weakened immune system caused by inflammation. Similarly, those managing substance abuse issues may be more likely to contract HIV – and once contaminated with the virus, they’ll be more susceptible to other illnesses due to the decreased resistance provided by their weakened immune system.

Liver Strain

Another issue – particularly with alcohol addiction, but also other forms of substance abuse – is that the liver will have to work much harder than it should in order to process certain substances. This can lead to a weakening of the liver over time, as well as an increased risk for disease such as hepatitis or cirrhosis.

These issues are compounded by the fact that those struggling with addiction are often living in less-than-ideal conditions, which can also increase the risk of illness. Poor nutrition, increased stress, and a lack of exercise all contribute to an overall decreased resistance to disease – meaning those with addiction may be more likely to experience health issues than those who don’t live with addiction.

Respiratory Issues

Particularly among those who are regularly smoking drugs, respiratory issues are a major concern. Increased coughing and congestion can be seen as the lungs become more filled with toxins, but in some cases this can also lead to serious illness such as bronchitis or pneumonia.

This is also true even for those who do not smoke, but who have been exposed to second-hand smoke. This is why there’s such an emphasis placed on being in a drug-free environment for those coming out of treatment – as it helps them avoid any issues associated with respiratory health brought about by exposure to toxins.

Cardiovascular Risks

Some of the most significant health risks associated with addiction come in the form of cardiovascular issues. This is because there’s an increase in blood pressure and cholesterol levels due to the substance abuse – which can lead to a higher risk for heart attack or stroke.

Additionally, those who struggle with addiction often engage in activities that put further strain on their cardiovascular system – such as using needles or engaging in unprotected sex – which can compound the risks even further.

Illnesses Addiction Can Make More Likely

Here’s just a snapshot of some of the illnesses that addiction may exacerbate the likelihood of:

  • Cardiac arrest: One of the most severe possible outcomes, cardiac arrest is a major risk for those who have been abusing substances.
  • Cancer: Addiction may increase the risk of cancer in certain areas of the body due to inflammation.
  • Liver disease: For alcohol addiction in particular, liver strain can lead to hepatitis or cirrhosis.
  • Respiratory illness: Smoking drugs will increase the risk of bronchitis or pneumonia.
  • HIV: Substance abuse may increase the likelihood of contracting HIV, as well as other STIs.

Benefits of Addiction Treatment

Luckily, getting the right kind of addiction treatment can help to mitigate all of these risks. Recovery programs help individuals to take control over their substance use and get clean, while also providing them with essential education on nutrition, stress management and more – which will help them to live healthier overall.

Additionally, receiving proper medical care during recovery may be able to provide support for any existing illnesses or underlying health issues, which can help to reduce the risks associated with addiction.

At Moonlight Mountain Recovery, we offer a wide range of treatments for those recovering from addiction – both inpatient and outpatient programs tailored to each individual’s needs. We understand that addiction and its effects on one’s body can be overwhelming, so we’re here to provide you with the care and support you need to get healthy again.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, we encourage you to contact us today and start your journey of recovery. Together, we’ll work to create a healthier future for those managing addiction in Boise, Washington and Oregon.

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