How Does Getting Sober Affect Your Body?
All psychoactive substances are potentially transformative in the physiological, mental, and behavioral sense. Almost invariably, the changes caused by substance abuse are negative. For example, alcoholics are at greater risk for developing cirrhosis of the liver after years of daily drinking. Even though the harmful effects of substance abuse and addiction can differ substantially from one person to another, many changes are reversible and can start being felt soon after detoxification. As the journey to recovery continues, recovery patients are likely to experience the following.
Improved Immune Function
Stressful situations are known to diminish the efficiency of the immune system. Abusing, binging, and becoming addicted to controlled substances will bring about deeply stressful situations that are often exacerbated by withdrawal symptoms. This is why many alcoholics and drug addicts often come down with bacterial and viral infections. When the body is forced to process large amounts of liquor, stimulants, opioids, or various designer drugs, the immune system weakens for about 24 hours, and the ability to generate antibodies can become compromised after a few months of frequent substance abuse.
Renewed REM & Regenerative Sleep Patterns
Passing out from intoxication is a defense mechanism the body uses when faced with extreme exhaustion, but it’s not meant to replace the good sleep the body needs to heal and regenerate. Interrupted sleep, the lack of dreams, inhibited rapid-eye movement, and scary nightmares are problematic side effects of substance abuse.
The problem with reducing the quantity and quality of sleep is a lower capacity for regeneration at the cellular level. This can affect everything from nerve function to scarring, muscle tissue healing, and serotonin production. Reversal of this issue starts at the detoxification stage, and it can return to normal in just a few days.
This positive change is most visible among individuals who recover from addictions to liquor and stimulants. The excessive intake of certain chemical compounds typically found in liquor, amphetamines, cocaine, and various designer drugs will always interfere with the skin’s hydration processes. In the case of alcoholics who start to get liver spots, these can go away within four weeks. Many patients who enter Encinitas sober living housing as part of their recovery journeys are known to look in the mirror and marvel at the gradual regeneration of their skin. In fact, many of them take up skin care routines to prolong this regeneration.
Lower Risk of Cardiovascular Issues
Increased blood pressure is a side effect commonly associated with alcoholism. A research study conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Health System in 2014 found that the systolic pressure readings of individuals who drink five or more glasses of liquor, beer, or wine on a daily basis are more than 9 mmHg higher than average. Individuals who abuse stimulants make their hearts work harder while simultaneously weakening their blood vessels. These issues can devolve into chronic cardiovascular deficiencies, but they can improve rapidly during sobriety.
If you’re newly sober and you need help with avoiding relapse, call on the compassionate team at Casa Pacifica. Along with providing sober living housing for men in Encinitas, we work with our individual residents to develop customized plans that integrate treatment, aftercare, and recovery support. Our services include sober companionship, coaching, and mentorship for those who are recovering from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. For more information about our sober living facilities, call us today at (760) 230-2996.