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 that 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.
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.
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.
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 crisis.
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 with recovering from them.