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immune systemThe body and brain take the brunt of addiction’s force. Over time, the body will shut down because the toxins are simply too much to handle. One of the issues people don’t think about as often is the immune system. Substances impact the immune system in different ways but mostly it weakens it against disease and infection. A person can have weaker organs that don’t process toxins the same way and the brain begins to deal differently with its environment, as well. Find out more about the immune system’s response to addiction and how to seek help.


Function of Immunity

The body’s immunity to disease and chronic illness is not a given. Some people, like NICU babies or those born with a lowered immune system, can have chronic health conditions. The immune system is comprised of organs and cells that need to stay strong and healthy in order to heal when it is attacked by cells. It helps to neutralize harmful substances when the immune system is strong and fight off things like roving cancer cells or malignancies that appear and people are never aware (until it turns into a disease process). 


Impact of Substances

When the immune system is not interrupted by these nasty pathogens, the body can run more smoothly. The body encounters pathogens that are aggressive and not able to navigate these challenges. When illness happens, it can take over the body. Substances lower the immune system’s response but also begin to take a toll on the body by not getting enough rest, feeling fatigued, triggering the body to feel invaded and not be able to ward off what is happening. Cortisol levels go up and down, and everything feels at a high-stress level in the body, which has a long-lasting impact on the body overall. 


Presence of Alcohol

Excess alcohol consumption may lead to deficiencies in immunity and help spread disease. Prolonged alcohol abuse can cause disruptions to digestion and damage cells that secrete enzymes for digestion. The liver is impacted, which stores vitamins in the body. Alcohol may affect a person’s ability to store protein. Prolonged alcoholism may result in autoimmunity. The most dangerous effect is the white blood cell count, which can be lowered. This lowers overall defenses in the body and puts a person at greater risk of life-threatening diseases, including cancer. 


Help is Available

Even if a person has used drugs for a while, there is help. Getting off drugs can help the body respond more positively to the environment again. Inpatient or outpatient treatment can be supportive for people with addiction. Depending on a person’s overall individual needs, they can find hope and healing after they give the treatment  time to run its course. Aftercare is also important to follow up with medical providers, eat healthily, and get enough sleep. Drinking water and staying hydrated and exercising regularly can boost the body’s immune system and keep people healthy longer.


The Guest House Ocala welcomes people who are struggling with addiction. Our goal is to support your individual recovery. The professional staff focuses on attention to details of your personal needs so you can work to heal from past trauma, mental health challenges, and addiction. You are not alone. Call us to find out how to get started: 1-855-483-7800