Most of us were taught at a young age that drugs are bad. We were taught to say “no” and to avoid using drugs, yet for many of us, it was easier said than done. Drugs and alcohol can have major negative effects on the human body, both physically and mentally. They can have damaging effects on the brain, especially if the brain has not fully developed, but they also can affect the liver, kidney, heart and can cause severe mental health issues or mental illness. But how do you heal your body after recovering from an addiction? And is there a difference between drug dependency and drug addiction in the healing process?
Drug addiction or drug dependence can lead to permanent changes to the body, but it is possible to have and maintain a healthy life again. When we use drugs, our bodies adapt to the substance, and it may be a painful withdrawal experience before the body becomes used to the changes and starts functioning the way it once did, before the drug use. Withdrawal symptoms, depending on the drug being used, can affect the entire body and can be highly dangerous without proper medical supervision. Drug addiction treatment centers can help support you throughout the entire withdrawal phase, as well as the recovery process as your body begins to heal and return back to normal.
Tips on Heal Your Body After Drug
Drug Dependence Vs Drug Addiction
It seems to come as a surprise to most, that drug dependence and drug addiction are two different terms. Oftentimes, the terms are used interchangeably. Addiction Center explains the difference as this:
- Drug dependence is when the body has become physically dependent on the substance and includes the possibility of building a tolerance or experiencing withdrawals.
- Drug addiction is when a person experiences changes to the brain (caused by the constant drug use) which causes them to behave in irrational ways to meet the needs of their addiction.
When a person has drug dependency issues, their body believes it needs the drug to function. When a person has a drug addiction, their body and mind believe it wants and needs the drug and they will do what they must in order to meet those needs. Drug dependency does not always lead to drug addiction but is it likely that it will. Whether a person is recovering from being drug dependent or from drug addiction, the body still needs time to heal and go back to functioning regularly again. While a person recovering from drug addiction may have more baggage from living a life of an addict (lying and stealing to get by), someone recovering from drug dependency will still have to go through the physical and oftentimes, brutal bodily changes of the healing process including the withdrawal phase. Both will need to give their bodies extra attention in order to fully get back to normal.
Will I Ever Get Back to Normal?
Addiction often leads to feelings of hopeless or even depression. When the drugs have taken over, the person using is no longer in the driver’s seat. They may think they cannot go back to the life they had before the drugs took over. Or maybe they think they have caused too much damage either to themselves, or the people around them, that they can never go back to being “normal” again.
Although drug addiction can sometimes lead to severe changes to the body and brain, there is always hope in getting back on track to a healthy life. A person recovering from chronic drug addiction may experience lifelong issues, such as cognitive delays or a new physical disability but quitting the drug use and healing your body can lead you back to a normal life. Drug addiction rehabs can help you identify and understand some of the effects the drug use had on your body. The medical staff and mental health professionals within the drug addiction programs can help you learn to live with any lifelong effects or, if possible, work towards treating them. They will also help prepare you to live a drug free life and make healthy life choices.
Some other factors to consider when healing your body from addiction is what your feeding your body and how much you are moving it. Addiction can take a major toll on our bodies, leaving them feeling frail or weak, so knowing what to eat can really help with the recovery process.
What and How to Eat During Recovery?
When a person develops an addiction, is it likely that they are not engaging in physical activity, eating a proper diet, or even getting enough sleep. All of which we need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Drugs and alcohol are known to weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to becoming sick. Therefore, nutrition and eating a healthy diet is a key factor in healing your body after recovering from an addiction. A good rule of thumb with a healthy diet would include:
- Foods enriched in vitamins and minerals
- Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables
- Lean proteins
- Whole grains
- Foods with lower calories
- Avoid foods with high sugars and preservatives
Remember, a body in recovery needs a lot of nutrient filled meals as well as a lot of water. It is recommended that men drink at least 3.5 liters and women at least 2.5 liters of water a day. When our bodies are adjusting to a new lifestyle without the drugs or alcohol, the help of a proper diet and hydration can help our bodies get back to feeling great again.
Benefits of Exercise During Recovery
Moving the body is a great way to get your body back in good physical shape and can also help improve your overall mental health. When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins, which can help relieve stress, dopamine, which causes us to feel excited or euphoric, and serotonin which helps boosts our mood and improves our mental health. Exercise can also help us sleep better at night and can help regulate our appetite. By finding fun and enjoyable ways to exercise, you can start to get your body back to normal which can increase your self-confidence and make you feel better about yourself.
Drug addiction or drug dependency can have serious effects on the body but it is possible to treat and heal from the drug use. Drug addiction rehab centers can help you best recover and start to build a healthy life of sobriety. Eating a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables and getting daily exercise can help bring the body back to feeling normal again. If you are willing to give your body the time and care it deserves, it will thank you later!
Addiction Center.“Addiction vs Dependence: Understanding the Dependence vs Addiction
Reviewed 28, January 2019.
Gateway Foundation. “How to Heal Your Body After Drug and Alcohol Addiction.”
https://www.gatewayfoundation.org/addiction-blog/body-damage-from-substance-use/ Reviewed 28, July 2020.
Healthline. “Exercise, Depression and the Brain.”
Reviewed 25, July 2017