A Weak Immune System, Addiction, and Illness

A Weak Immune System, Addiction, and IllnessAddiction and illness are connected in many ways. Illness can lead to substance abuse, if opiates or other addictive drugs are prescribed or abused to address symptoms, and many drugs create health problems and suppress immune function. Regaining health involves getting appropriate medical treatment and professional addiction help.

Immune System Strain and Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol abuse puts all of the body’s systems under increased pressure and reduces its ability to fight bacterial infection or viruses. “Alcohol’s Role in Gastrointestinal Tract Disorders” (Bode and Bode, National Institute of Health) shares that “alcohol-induced mucosal injuries especially in the upper small intestine allow large molecules, such as endotoxin and other bacterial toxins, to pass more easily into the blood or lymph. These toxic substances can have deleterious effects on the liver and other organs.” Cumulative effects of these toxins contribute to the development of liver disease and cancer, and in the meantime increased bacterial toxins and weakened protection in the digestive system put greater stress on the immune system and contribute to the development of various illnesses.

Opiates and Immune System Suppression

Opiates such as morphine have been shown to suppress immune system function. Regular users may develop a tolerance to these immunosuppressive aspects of opiates, as their overall tolerance for the drug increase, but this is not always the case. As use increases to combat the effects of tolerance, the immune system may become further depressed leaving individuals at increased risk for infection and illness. Intravenous opiate use also places users at high risk for infection at the injection site and for disease such as HIV and hepatitis. Opiate abuse, HIV and hepatitis all interfere with the immune system and increase the likelihood of developing serious health issues.

Marijuana and Physical Health

While marijuana is often viewed as a less harmful or even helpful drug, abuse has a negative effect on overall health. “Effects on the Immune System,” published in the 2005 issue of Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology, shares that “Marijuana and other exogenous cannabinoids alter immune function and decrease host resistance to microbial infections.” Marijuana disrupts the immune system’s balance and makes users more likely to experience illness.

Finding Wellness through Addiction Recovery

If you are tired of being ill and addicted, call our toll-free helpline to gain access to resources that will provide for physical and mental health as well as addiction recovery. You do not have to struggle alone, and you do not have to be ill and addicted. We are here 24 hours a day to help, so please call now.