How Getting Sober Can Boost Your Immune System

How Getting Sober Can Boost Your Immune System

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How Getting Sober Can Boost Your Immune System

Sobriety transforms an individual’s entire life from within. The effects of alcohol on the mind and body are numerous, ranging from mild symptoms to severe cognitive impairments and chronic disease. When you decide on getting sober, you are doing more than ending an addiction. You are investing in your total health and wellness. You are positioning yourself to lead a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life in every way.

At its very core, alcohol is a toxin. Drinking regularly affects every system and organ in your body. And the more heavily you drink, the more health risks you face. From weight gain to liver cirrhosis, there are many ways alcohol abuse hurts your physical body. In addition to the immediate health concerns, there is also a higher prevalence of mental health issues including anxiety and depression among people with drinking problems. Combined, the physical and mental impacts of alcohol abuse can produce a destructive, negative feedback loop. [1]

The Effects of Alcohol on the Immune System

Because alcohol is treated as a poison to your body, it must be flushed out. This means your immune system begins working harder every time you drink to protect your organs from tissue damage. The result is increased susceptibility to other illnesses.

As drinking becomes more frequent or heavy, one might notice they tend to get sick more often than before the alcohol consumption changed. The sickness symptoms are more severe than what someone may feel when simply hungover. This is because alcohol disrupts the immune system’s functioning, putting you at a greater risk of certain cancers, viruses, liver disease, and more. [2]

Chronic Inflammation

Research suggests chronic drinking can cause intestinal inflammation that damages not only the liver but the rest of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. [3] Inflammation is an immune system response designed to protect the body from damage. However, if it is prolonged, it can instead have an adverse effect and lead to permanent health conditions.

Instead of your body flushing bacteria or toxins from its system and returning to a healthy baseline, the unwelcome antigens remain in your system. This keeps the immune system on constant high alert leaving inflammation levels high. The result can lead to many medical problems including insomnia, asthma, heart disease, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, and various types of cancer.

Greater Risk of Infection

Because chronic inflammation slows down your body’s ability to fight off disease, you are more likely to suffer from frequent infections or even serious complications. The cells working hard to prevent infections become compromised when alcohol is introduced into the body. A person who has an alcohol use disorder can even be more likely to contract respiratory infections such as pneumonia and even COVID-19. [2]

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How Getting Sober Can Boost Your Immune System Infographic

As the body’s immune system slows down, particles can enter the bloodstream more easily. This is because the lungs do not catch and remove particles as well as they should. Getting sick with a cold more often is already an inconvenience in life. But now, the serious risk of respiratory and other diseases is much more concerning. Daily activities become more dangerous with exposure to bacteria and viruses when the immune system is weakened by alcohol.

Poor Sleep

Sleep is supposed to be a time for your body and mind to refresh and heal. Alcohol disrupts this important function drastically. Whenever you consume alcohol, even just one beer or glass of wine, the body immediately shifts its focus. Rather than looking after your overall health, it prioritizes ridding alcohol from your system. This means other important functions, like sleep, suffer.

Because drinking causes less sleep, and sleep impacts the immune system’s ability to fight off threats, tiredness is only just one symptom you might endure. You are also more likely to become sick more often and with worse symptoms. The longstanding effects of insomnia may also impact your mental health. If you struggle with depression, anxiety, low moods, and constant stress, symptoms can be made even worse by an inability to properly sleep and refresh your body.

Can Rehab Help Getting Sober?

Even if you have been drinking heavily for years, you can begin taking steps to getting sober and repair the damage to your immune system. Detox is the first step toward your new life and healthier body. The process involves waiting for all alcohol to rid your system. Although it can be painful and dangerous alone, professional detox services at rehab can provide medical support to make withdrawal easier.

After a complete detox, your immune system will need time to heal. You can help it by learning about nutrition, exercising, and treating any underlying mental and physical health problems. At Desert Cove Recovery, total mind and body wellness are addressed. This will help you heal your immune system and learn to live a full life free from addiction.

Getting Sober Starts With You

If you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol abuse, contact your local hospital or contact the Desert Cove Recovery staff today.