Can Long-Term Drug Use Compromise Our Immune Systems?


Most individuals are aware that long-term substance misuse can have a negative impact on both their physical and mental health, raising the risk of malnutrition, depression, and some types of cancer.

However, one aspect of health that you may be less familiar with is the impact that drugs and alcohol have on your immune system.

What should you be aware of?

When an adult drinks alcohol or drugs for a long time, the impacts of their addiction might harm their biological quotient. In many circumstances, a person's immune system suffers and is weakened as their bodies try to fight off the poisons in alcohol or drugs, leaving them open to other illnesses.

Understanding how drug and alcohol addiction affects the immune system can help you or a loved one take the actions necessary to enhance their health while in recovery.

Addiction And Your Immune System

The immune system is a complex system of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to fight infections. A healthy immune system filters everything you encounter and isolates and neutralizes everything it identifies as foreign.

A strong immune system also learns from previous contacts, allowing it to recognize and fight germs and pathogens more efficiently in the future.

The use of drugs and alcohol does not always mean that your immune system is compromised. Instead, the problem emerges due to the cumulative effects of substance abuse on the body.

Many long-term users suffer from health issues like exhaustion, a lack of essential nutrients, and obesity, all of which can weaken your immune system and make you susceptible to infection.

The rehabs find it difficult to treat long-term drug users because their bodies are far too much dependent on the substances. You can click to get more information on how drug use can compromise your immunity.

Even if an addiction patient does not develop more significant issues such as cognitive impairment, heart disease, lung illness, or liver failure, the immune system can be harmed, leading to severe, recurring, or incurable infections. Some of these infections can cause long-term complications or even death. 

Substances That Impact the Immune System

Intoxicating chemicals may impair the immune system directly, or the medication's method may contribute to an increased risk of infection and a reduced immunological response. The substances that play a significant role here are:

(i). Alcohol: Alcohol damages the liver and pancreas, lowering immunological function and making the body more susceptible to other disorders. Alcohol also stops creating a type of white blood cell that hunts down and kills viruses and cancer cells.

(ii). Marijuana: Smoking marijuana can make you more susceptible to respiratory illness. Marijuana also suppresses the immune system, making it more prone to contract bacterial or viral diseases over time.

(iii). Tobacco: Smoking cigarettes damages your lungs and weakens your immune system's capacity to fight lung infections.

(iv). Cocaine: When you snort cocaine, it harms the mucous membranes in your lungs, nose, and throat, making the user more susceptible to upper respiratory infections.

Binge Substance Abuse And Your Health

Addiction patients who binge on drugs and alcohol are more likely to become ill. Exhaustion and dehydration, as well as dietary shortages, can result from binge drinking or drug usage. If you've ever had flu-like symptoms or even gotten a cold or illness after binging, you know how miserable it can be.

According to studies, long-term substance abusers are also more likely to become ill and die from diseases like the ones listed below.

Due to sharing needles and engaging in risky conduct such as unprotected sex, substance abusers have a higher risk of developing HIV.

Alcoholics are more likely to get respiratory ailments like Pneumonia and Tuberculosis, which are usually avoidable but can be fatal in persons with weakened immune systems.

Drug users who share needles or engage in other impulsive behaviors are more likely to contract hepatitis B and C. 

How To Overcome Substance Addiction?

Addiction recovery might be aided by enrolling in a rehabilitation program. Medical professionals can treat infections such as pneumonia, STIs, and other disorders. In addition, incurable diseases like HSV or HIV can be treated, allowing a person to live for longer periods without suffering from the disease.

Some of the damage done to the immune system or other body systems may be reversed once the person is sober, so getting help as soon as possible is critical.

  1. Physical exercise is a natural technique to increase your endorphin secretion. So, if you exercise regularly, you will have the courage to fight your drug urges. An exercise routine will also elevate your mood and prevent your risk of relapse.
  2. You must drink a lot of water and eat healthily. Include lean meat, dairy, whole grains, and legumes in your diet, and avoid caffeinated drinking beverages. When you drink enough water, your body stays hydrated, and helps you fight the withdrawal symptoms.
  3. Yoga and meditation are also proven strategies to help a person control his drug consumption habits. Mindfulness exercise can relieve stress and anxiety, and developing a meditation habit can help you stay calm even when the time is rough.
  4. Finding new hobbies is an effective way to overcome drug addiction. Sometimes people turn towards drugs when they have ample time in their hands, and if you have a new hobby to occupy that time, you won't have the time to think about drugs anymore.
  5. Last but not least, you must surround yourself with supportive people. When you have a strong support network, you can achieve anything. Even if you relapse, your support network will be there to lift you and motivate you to commit to sobriety.

Final Takeaway

When a person battles with substance misuse or addiction, they may suffer from various adverse effects resulting from ingesting these substances regularly.

Long-term battles with alcohol or drugs can cause significant damage to numerous physiological systems, including the immune system.

Therefore, you must seek professional help if you are a long-term drug user because your immunity system is likely compromised already. So, if you need to get more information from us, let us know in the comment box below.