As Covid-19 continues to impact the world, a growing number of addiction specialists are growing concerned. They know that a weak immune system caused by substance abuse can impact their clients’ health and recovery. Even worse, it may leave them open to the dangers of this new pandemic. As a result, it is important to understand your options for addiction treatment and your physical health regarding Covid-19.
Drug Addiction and Your Physical Health: Your Immune System
Over the years, studies have helped to confirm what many people expected – addiction and your physical health are tightly connected. This factor is particularly relevant to the immune system because various substances have been found to slow or impact this critical part of your body. For example, cocaine and nicotine have been shown to profoundly affect the immune system and leave many people open to a myriad of dangerous diseases that they may otherwise not experience, including:
- Gastrointestinal disease
And substances like alcohol, opiates, and marijuana also produce similar effects by enhancing the body’s susceptibility to what medical professionals call “opportunistic microbes.” Currently, there is no “opportunistic microbe” making more of an impact on the world than COVID-19. Unfortunately, this disease is also likely to worsen in people with substance abuse. Their immune system is likely to be compromised by substance abuse.
How Does a Weakened Immune System Affect Your Health?
One of the most surprising aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the fact that around 80-85 percent of all cases are mild. Most people fight off these symptoms very quickly, as long as they have a robust immune system. However, not everybody has that level of health. Older adults, especially those in their 80s to 90s, are tremendously impacted by this disease. As addiction and your physical health worsen, your risk increases, placing you in a very dangerous spot.
As a result, your symptoms may go beyond the flu-like ones noted by most people – including headaches, diarrhea, high temperature, and more – and may become very dangerous. For example, you may suddenly find it much harder to breathe and struggle to get healthy oxygen levels. Even worse, you could end up developing pneumonia. Pneumonia will cause your lungs to fluid and put you in a hazardous health situation. Thankfully, there are ways that you can boost your immune system to regain your ability to fight this dangerous disease.
Enhance Your Immune System
If you believe that substance abuse has left you open to Covid-19, you may want to get to a rehab center right away. These professionals can nurse you back to health and boost your immune system in many ways. You can also take the steps below to ensure that you get the best possible recovery:
- Stop doing drugs – The sooner you quit, the quicker your body can recover
- Eat healthy foods – If you’ve neglected your nutritional health, eat fruits and vegetables to enhance your immune system
- Start exercising – By working out and losing weight, you can strengthen your immune system and make it easier to fight off disease
- Quit smoking and drinking – If nicotine and alcohol are frequent additions to your drug use, you need to drop both habits ASAP
- Regularly wash your hands – Make sure to disinfect your hands as much as possible to avoid spreading diseases
Continuing Care Improves Treatment Results
When you graduate from an addiction treatment program like Crestview’s, you won’t be alone. Crestview Recovery’s treatment team understands that the first year of recovery can be very challenging from a physical, mental, and emotional perspective. We offer an alumni program to keep everyone connected once they are discharged. Crestview’s alumni program will help you continue to strengthen your recovery by allowing you to be part of a group of individuals who have experienced similar struggles. Aftercare programs assist with the following post-treatment concerns:
- Relapse prevention
- Community connections
- Decreasing boredom
Rehab aftercare is vital in order to prevent relapse. The vast majority of people aren’t able to maintain their sobriety alone. For this reason, relapse prevention is a significant part of aftercare. Being able to build or belong to a supportive community significantly decreases people’s risk of relapse. It also affords clients the opportunity to make progress in their new sober lives. Individuals often find themselves stuck, not knowing where to go after treatment. Although they are newly sober, going back to their regular daily lives may allow people to slip back into old habits. Building new relationships and sober friendships is difficult and takes time. It can be a daunting task.
Recovery Is Possible
These simple steps should help make addiction and your physical health an easier battle for you to win. Just make sure to pay careful attention to your overall health. You also need to be willing to work with your rehab specialists. This will ensure that you get the best chances of beating Covid-19. Then, you can get back to living a healthy life once the pandemic is over. Contact Crestview Recovery at 866.262.0531 today.
Since 2016, Dr. Merle Williamson, a graduate of Oregon Health Sciences University, has been the Medical Director at Crestview Recovery, bringing a rich background in addiction medicine from his time at Hazelden Treatment Center. He oversees outpatient drug and alcohol treatments, providing medical care, setting policies, detox protocols, and quality assurance measures. Before specializing in addiction medicine, he spent 25 years in anesthesiology, serving as Chair of Hospital Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and Chief of Anesthesia at Kaiser Permanente. This experience gives him a unique perspective on treating prescription drug addiction.