The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be a major concern for all of us. Masks and social distancing have become commonplace and everyone is looking for ways to lower their risk of exposure. Suddenly, immune health has skyrocketed to the top of our priority list.
If you’re struggling with substance abuse, you, in particular, might be worried about how your addiction impacts your risk of contracting COVID-19. Let’s take a look at how addiction can weaken the immune system and what you can do to protect yourself from the virus.
How Substance Abuse Impacts Your Immune System
Think of your immune system as a soccer goalie. It strives to keep harmful bacteria and infections out of your body, just like a goalkeeper works hard to keep the opposing team from scoring. Your body and immune system have to remain on high alert, since there is no end to the amount of “threats” it protects you from.
Unfortunately, substance abuse weakens your immune system and throws it off its natural rhythm. This allows more bacteria, germs and viruses to enter the body and get you sick. Like an injured or worndown goalkeeper, your immune system is less able to protect you from infections.
Substance Abuse and Your Immune System
Your immune system is an extensive network of cells, tissues, organs and molecules that are constantly working to keep your body healthy. Substance abuse can have a real impact on your immune system and in some cases, can lead to complications with COVID-19. Some of the addictive substances that can impact your immune system include:
- Alcohol: Excessive drinking or alcohol abuse can cause a decrease in functioning of your liver and pancreas. This weakens your immune system and makes it harder for your body to recover from illnesses. Alcohol abuse is closely linked to pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses, which also puts you in danger of COVID-19.
- Cocaine: Snorting cocaine can cause damage to the mucus membranes in your nose, throat and lungs. This makes your body more susceptible to upper respiratory infections like COVID-19. Cocaine can also reduce your immune system’s response to lung infections, which can be very dangerous when facing COVID-19.
- Heroin: When you take heroin, the drug suppresses your immune system activity before lowering the number of immune cells in the body. That means your body will have a harder time fighting COVID-19. Plus, injecting heroin greatly increases your exposure to infections and bacteria.
- Meth: If you use meth regularly, the drug can actually constrict your blood vessels. This can make it more difficult for your immune system to fight off infections. Chronic meth use can also cause pulmonary hypertension, which can make it harder for doctors to treat COVID-19.
The Link Between COVID-19 and Addiction
If you struggle with a substance use disorder, do you have a higher risk for getting COVID-19? It’s common for people struggling with a substance abuse disorder to have compromised lungs and cardiovascular systems. This means it’s not only easier for COVID-19 to enter your system, but your body has a harder time fighting off the infection, too. In fact, a recent study found that people who are suffering from a substance use disorder are more likely to contract COVID-19.
Why You Should Consider Addiction Treatment Now
It’s easy to look at COVID-19 and use it as a justification for not going to addiction treatment. But, getting professional addiction treatment now can actually help safeguard your health. When you enter addiction treatment, you’ll be in a safe and secure environment to help you heal. With the help of medical professionals, you can detox from addictive substances, giving your immune system a chance to recover.
Given how COVID-19 has shut down many parts of society, you probably have more free time on your hands. This extra time can make resisting drugs or alcohol harder, which also increases your risk for overdosing. Addiction treatment can help you find social support and a community of people who know what you’re going through.
Find Hope and Healing at Fountain Hills Recovery
We know how challenging it is to suffer from a drug or alcohol addiction during the COVID-19 pandemic. But as a premier addiction treatment center in Arizona, Fountain Hills Recovery can help you break free from substance abuse.
Our expert team uses a personalized approach combined with proven techniques to help you safely recover. At Fountain Hills Recovery, our priority is getting you the help you need. At our luxury addiction treatment center, you’ll receive individualized treatment to help your immune system return to normal.
If you’re ready to break free from addiction, we’re here to help. Contact us today to begin your journey to lasting recovery.