The Impact of Substance Addiction on Your Health

By Sonya Schweitzer

Was it a DWI, a failing relationship, job loss,or a health scare that finally pushed you to seek help for your addiction? Every day, individuals walk into our program due to a “last straw moment”. Often, this moment is health-related, as the physical toll of addiction becomes too great to ignore. In this blog, we delve into the profound impact of substance addiction on your health.

Substance addiction affects your health in several ways, some more apparent than others. While the psychological repercussions are severe, the physical implications of substance abuse, including heart disease, diabetes, and liver damage, can be just as damaging.

Health Issues Tied to Substance Abuse

In this blog, we will focus on three diseases currently impacting Americans’ lifestyles and the link to substance abuse for some individuals. Today’s focus includes: 

  • Heart Disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Liver Damage

“People with addiction often have one or more associated health issues, including lung or heart disease, stroke, cancer, or mental health conditions. Imaging scans, chest X-rays, and blood tests can show the damaging effects of long-term drug or alcohol use throughout the body.”—

Liver Damage and Substance Abuse

The liver is often called the body’s detox center. Under normal circumstances, it can metabolize drugs and other toxins without significant damage to the organ. However, when drugs are consumed in excess, the persistent detoxifying demands of the liver can lead to severe, cumulative liver damage.

Several risk factors increase a person’s chances of experiencing drug-induced liver injury: alcohol, illicit drug abuse, excessive use of medications or drugs, and the combination of drugs and alcohol. Thus, individuals abusing substances are particularly susceptible to liver injury.

Substance Abuse and Diabetes

Simultaneously, those who abuse substances are prone to diabetes. This increased risk can be attributed to various factors, including the effects of opioids on glucose metabolism and poor dietary choices. People struggling with opioid addiction often crave foods with high sugar and fat content, contributing to poor nutrition and health. Regular illicit drug use may hasten the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. 

Heart Health and Substance Abuse

The impact of substance addiction on your health also extends to your heart. Ingesting harmful substances, particularly drugs, and alcohol, can lead to deterioration in the health of the heart and blood vessels, known as cardiovascular disease. This condition can drastically affect overall health and longevity.

Alcohol, a source of excess calories, can lead to harmful weight gain and numerous associated health problems over time. Excessive alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease,  even a stroke. It can also contribute to cardiomyopathy (a disorder that affects the heart muscle). 

Samaritan Inns: A Path to Recovery

Understanding the health impacts of addiction is the first step toward recovery, and here at Samaritan Inns, we provide much-needed support for individuals ready to take that step. Our unique, three-phase recovery program offers comprehensive and personalized care to those in Washington, DC.

In the first phase, we focus on detoxification and stabilization. The second phase targets the roots of the addiction, providing therapeutic programs to confront and combat these issues. Lastly, in the third phase, we offer transitional living programs to support your reintegration into society and drug-free life. 

As you navigate the path of recovery, remember: you are not alone. We at Samaritan Inns are committed to standing by your side and helping you through your journey. 

Remember, the impact of substance addiction on your health is profound and multi-faceted, but recovery is possible. If you, or a loved one, struggle with substance abuse, it’s never too late to reach out for help and regain control over your health and life.

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