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  • Writer's pictureTharun sai E

How Addiction Can Affect Your Physical Health

If you’re dealing with addiction, it’s important to be aware of the devastating repercussions it can have on every aspect of your life. Be it alcohol, drugs, or any other addictive substance, the impact addiction has on your body is not temporary—it can be severely long-lasting. In this blog, we talk about the various ways in which the harmful physical consequences of addiction can manifest in your body and the measures you can take to safeguard yourself against them.


Liver damage

Drug or alcohol abuse can cause significant harm to your liver. It might lead to conditions like fatty liver disease or cirrhosis. In some extreme cases, it may even result in liver failure; this can be life-threatening and may call for a liver transplant to regain physical functionality.


Cardiovascular disease

Addiction can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. This is because drug and alcohol abuse can hurt the blood vessels, making it more difficult for blood to flow properly throughout the body. Over time, this can cause serious damage to the heart and other organs, leading to chronic health problems that may be difficult to manage.


Respiratory issues

Hard drugs like opioids and cocaine can have a negative impact on your respiration. Abusing alcohol can cause respiratory depression—a condition that may cause your breathing rate to slow down to a dangerously low point. Cocaine abuse can damage your lungs and lead to respiratory failure, and also escalate the risk of heart attack and stroke.


Infectious diseases

You might become prone to infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C through drug abuse. The sharing of needles for the purpose of injecting substances can cause the transmission of blood-borne diseases. These can be life-threatening and require lifelong treatment and care.


Dental problems

You can get serious dental problems from drug and alcohol abuse like tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. This is due to dehydration that occurs as a result of substance abuse, decreasing saliva production, in turn causing bacterial buildup. This can lead to oral health issues and cavities.


Malnutrition

Malnutrition, as a result of drug and alcohol addiction, causes a range of physical health problems. When the body does not acquire the proper nutrients needed for healthy functioning, weakness and fatigue can take over. If it continues for a long period of time, malnutrition can cause organ failure or even death in severe cases.


However, keep in mind that addiction does not only affect your physical health. Mental health is gravely affected when you abuse substances, with the side effects manifesting in the form of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. This can, in turn, deteriorate your physical well-being. If you’re struggling with addiction, you are also more likely to indulge in risky behaviours like driving under the influence or having unsafe sex, making it more harmful.


The consequences of addiction on your physical health can be severe, but there are ways to protect yourself and heal.


Seek help from a mental health professional to manage your symptoms and reduce the possibility of long-term health concerns that arise from substance abuse. This can be done through - psychiatric support, counselling, and support groups.


Your overall health will improve as you develop the motivation to work on yourself through assistance from professionals, and support and empathy from those who are going through the same.


You can also take steps at an individual level that will create lasting change. As you seek professional support, try to create a routine that includes:

• Exercise

• Healthy eating habits

• Meaningful work (and hobbies that intrigue you)


In addition to taking a proactive approach towards your de-addiction journey, commit to improving your mental and physical health and increasing your chances of living a healthy and happy life.


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