You know that your mental wellbeing takes a toll from drug or alcohol abuse. However, did you know that addiction and your physical health also have a connection? In times of outbreaks such as a busy flu season or the COVID-19 pandemic, you must attend carefully to your health, which includes giving up habits that increase your chances of getting sick. One of the things that can impact your immune system and increase the chances of getting sick or developing a more severe form of the illness is having a drug or alcohol use disorder.
How Addiction and Your Physical Health Intertwine
Your physical well-being includes being able to fight off infections. However, overuse of some substances, such as alcohol can suppress your immune system’s response. For example, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, you have a higher likelihood of getting sick up to 24 hours after getting drunk from reduced immunity.
Drug use can also impact your health. For instance, COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that can cause coughing and shortness of breath. Breathing troubles become especially problematic in patients with this disease who also have asthma, bronchitis, or lung damage.
Smoking marijuana or crack cocaine can cause breathing troubles. Additionally, opioids can worsen asthma and slow breathing. If you have an addiction to any of these drugs, you could have serious complications from any respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, pneumonia, or the flu.
Many people who abuse injected drugs may put themselves at risk for HIV. This disease causes the immune system to slowly stop working. In fact, of those who have an HIV diagnosis, approximately 10% of them got the virus from injected drug use.
Lastly, addiction and your physical health have a connection to the behaviors you engage in while using drugs or alcohol. These substances increase the chances of risky behavior. During an outbreak, such actions could include going into crowds or getting too close to strangers. These types of behaviors raise the risks of contracting a disease.
How to Stay Healthy Until You Can Get Into a Recovery Program
Since addiction and your physical health have such a close link to each other, drug use can have a greater impact on your wellness. If you still struggle with substance use, you will need to take additional precautions to stay healthy. Even if you plan to get into a rehab program, your body may still have damage from drug or alcohol use.
During an outbreak, follow these tips for staying healthy until you can check into a recovery center:
- Take time off work and stay home if you get sick
- Avoid crowds when possible
- Shop online to keep out of public places
- Text, phone, or chat with friends online instead of meeting them in person
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 to 30 seconds
- Try to reduce stress in your life, get plenty of sleep, and eat a healthy diet
Having an Active Addiction During a Pandemic
Monitoring your health is difficult when you have an active addiction. Therefore, you should ask a friend or family member to keep an eye on your wellbeing. Have them watch out for signs of a developing illness and symptoms of complications. If they notice these signs, they should call your doctor to ask about testing. Signs of COVID-19 include a cough and fever while shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. These symptoms mean that you may need immediate medical care.
If you have COVID-19, understand that this disease could put you at a greater risk of dying from an opioid overdose. Opioids can reduce your breathing rate, and the damage to the lungs from COVID-19 increases mortality from taking too many of these drugs, which include heroin and prescription opioids.
If you misuse drugs or alcohol, the practice is damaging your social wellbeing in addition to your body and mind. However, you don’t have to stay addicted. You can stop drug addiction from causing you physical and mental harm by following a recovery program from a quality rehab center. By kicking your addiction, you can recover your life and health. Contact Soledad House today at 866.314.3222 to get the treatment you need!