A Weak Immune System, Addiction, and Illness

A Weak Immune System, Addiction, and Illness

Drug and alcohol abuse significantly deteriorates a person’s immune system, leaving them vulnerable to a wide range of illnesses and disease. Medical professionals have documented examples of this phenomenon for centuries; long before they even understood exactly what caused certain illnesses. More recent research has proven what many doctors have been saying for hundreds of years. Excessive drinking leads to increased illness, unnecessary suffering, and premature death.

Alcohol and The Immune System

The human body fights off infection and disease through an intricate system of chemical signals in the bloodstream. Organs throughout the body, including the liver, spleen, lymph system, and certain glands, are directly responsible for responding to infection in a defensive way. Excessive alcohol use causes damage throughout this system, thus compromising the body’s ability to defend itself from pathogens. Alcoholics are likely to have seriously decreased levels of these critical substances, and thus are at a significantly increased risk for developing the following diseases:

  • Hepatitis C
  • Pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis
  • Septicemia
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Bacterial peritonitis
  • Empyema
  • Abscesses
  • Diphtheria
  • Meningitis

One of the most serious diseases associated with alcohol abuse is alcoholic liver disease. This condition, which includes cirrhosis of the liver, fatty liver, and alcoholic hepatitis, can be fatal. The liver is a critical organ, connected to both filtering the blood of toxins and supporting other areas of immunity. The liver is seriously damaged by alcohol abuse, which often leads to severe pain, digestive problems, the onset of related infections and eventually, death.

Narcotics and the Immune System

Narcotics, such as prescription painkillers or heroin, are central nervous system depressants. The use of these drugs directly impacts the body’s ability to fight off disease. Chronic narcotic abuse can increase the likelihood of a person contracting any of the diseases listed above. Heroin addicts often use needles to inject the drug. The use of infected needles has caused many heroin addicts to contract HIV. From catching a common cold to contracting a life-threatening infection, the use of narcotics can devastate a person’s immune system.

Symptoms of Addiction

One of the surest signs of drug or alcohol addiction is that even when a person experiences significant and negative consequences from his habit, he continues to use. Many addicts notice that they become sick more often as their addiction progresses. Instead of taking the necessary steps to get clean, an addict is more likely to get drunk or high in order to escape the feeling of fear or dread that comes with decreased immunity. In addition to this continued use despite negative personal, physical, financial, or even legal consequences, the following symptoms are commonly associated with alcohol or drug addiction:

  • Dishonesty with friends, family, or medical professionals
  • Avoiding people that don’t get drunk or high
  • Losing interest in previously important activities and relationships
  • Failed attempts to quit
  • Onset of withdrawal symptoms if and when the substance leaves the bloodstream

Drugs and alcohol are toxins. In addition to causing emotional pain, relational distance, depression, loneliness, and financial ruin, substance abuse opens you to a wide range of potentially life-threatening infections and diseases. If you are experiencing substance induced infections, illnesses, or other compromises to your immune system, we can help.

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