A person with a compromised immune system experiences greater difficulty in fighting off infections and viruses. The results of several studies demonstrate the serious effects of drugs and alcohol on the human immune system.
Treatment programs offer hope for individuals who risk having a compromised immune system because of substance abuse and addiction. Substance abuse treatment helps you or your loved one get their life back on track.
What is the Relationship Between Substance Abuse and a Compromised Immune System?
Dealing with a health emergency, such as the coronavirus pandemic, poses significant risks to the health and lives of people that do not abuse drugs or alcohol. People with substance abuse or dual diagnosis issues are at increased risk of contracting an illness during trying times. They also potentially experience greater symptoms, and more difficulties fighting off COVID-19 or other illnesses. For more information about our coronavirus policies, view our update.
Marijuana is an example of a drug that most people likely do not think of as contributing to a compromised immune system. The Live Science staff explains that smoking marijuana ‘fires up’ certain immune system cells that compromise the immune system. Researchers conducted experiments on mice and discovered that using marijuana causes the release of ‘massive amounts’ of myeloid-derived suppressor cells. These cells lead to immune suppression.
Similarly, methamphetamines compromise the immune system as meth breaks down the natural defenses that fight off infections and viruses.
An article published in Clinical Microbiology Reviews indicated that recreational drugs have long been associated with increased susceptibility to infections. The authors expressed “serious concerns” related to the consequences of drug use on immunity. Some drugs that pose consequences leading to a compromised immune system include:
The article contributors also discussed the complex ways that drugs affect the immune response, via both direct and indirect mechanisms.
The Correlation Between Alcohol Abuse and a Compromised Immune System
Drinking alcohol has multiple effects on the immune system. Drinking alcohol leads to a compromised immune system through its effects on the gut, the brain, and major organs and systems of the human body.
Some individuals likely think that there is only a correlation between alcohol use and a compromised immune system when the person is a long-term drinker. Research shows that just one incidence of binge drinking potentially leads to a weakened immune system.
Taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle can help boost your immune system and reduce the risk of health complications that come with alcohol abuse. Regular exercise, increased water intake, healthy eating and getting enough sleep are all key elements in staying healthy and helping maintain a strong immune system.
Also, getting the treatment that you need for your alcohol use disorder helps you stop repeatedly compromising your immune system. Alcohol treatment helps you regain control over your life in trying times.
Treatment brings you back to a healthy state, both physically and mentally. With the help of professional treatment, it is possible to reduce or even eliminate alcohol use symptoms and regain control over your life.
Ultimately, treatment helps to prevent further damage to your immune system. By seeking alcohol treatment, you can strengthen your immune system and enjoy a good quality of life. It is never too late to reach out for help. Reach out today to start your journey toward health and wellness.
Dual Diagnosis Disorders
Do you have a dual diagnosis disorder and wonder if it affects your immune system? Perhaps you need an assessment to determine if you have a dual diagnosis disorder. Contacting a treatment facility with a dual diagnosis program helps you learn more about dual diagnosis disorders and to start your recovery.
Experiencing a substance use disorder while also experiencing mental health issues possibly adds to the risk of a compromised immune system. Some people drink or use other drugs to escape a crisis, including a flu pandemic, a coronavirus pandemic, or other health crises.
Individuals with co-occurring mental health disorders possibly experience increased symptoms, resulting in issues such as sleep disturbances. Sleep problems occur with many substance abusers and those with certain mental health disorders. The Mayo Clinic reveals that if you have a sleep disorder, you are more likely to contract viruses or other illnesses, and have greater difficulty recovering from them.
Get the Help You Need From Crestview Recovery
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.