It’s frustrating when substance use disorder (SUD) compromises your overall wellness. However, this doesn’t mean that choosing sobriety is a lost cause. Accepting the health consequences of drug abuse and addiction is a vital first step to taking control over your life and reshaping your future.
How Substances Damage Your Health
Our bodies are amazing ecosystems. The American Association for the Advancement of Science indicates that “the average human body contains ten times as many microbial cells, about 100 trillion, as it has human cells. Those microbes include thousands of different species.” However, various types of illicit and prescription drugs drastically impact our cellular structure:
- Opiates, including fentanyl and heroin, negatively affect how immune cells function, making it more challenging to fight off infection.
- Excessive marijuana use also has this effect on immune cells, which can possibly lead to the immune system attacking healthy tissue, including vital organs.
- Methamphetamines weaken the balance of good and bad gut bacteria, which creates numerous digestive problems.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) indicates that people with SUD frequently battle other health issues related to certain drugs such as:
- Cocaine, which creates more risk of infection, heart attacks, and stroke.
- Drug injections, which are often responsible for cellulitis, endocarditis, hepatitis C, and HIV.
- Inhalants, often the source of liver and kidney damage, as well as damage to nerve cells in the brain or peripheral nervous system.
- Meth overuse, which also causes severe dental issues and various heart problems.
NIDA states that drugs have a negative impact on the brain as well. “While some people develop mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and others prior to addiction, substance use disorder definitely makes them worse.”
4 Ways to Accept the Health Consequences of Drug Abuse
Acceptance often involves a shift in perspective—you reframe your mindset to align with the present reality. It requires letting go of the struggle against what is, which can be emotionally exhausting, and instead, finding a way to adapt and find peace in the midst of it.
Action for Happiness refers to acceptance as “acknowledging the ‘unvarnished facts’ of ourselves and our situation: the good and the not so good, without judging ourselves. Rather than this causing us to be stuck with things as they are, acceptance is the foundation for growth and change.”
True acceptance involves a deep sense of surrender, releasing the need to undo the past and learning to navigate your future with grace and resilience. Ultimately, acceptance of the health consequences of drug misuse is an essential pivotal point towards emotional healing, personal growth, and the ability to make informed decisions based on reality rather than wishful thinking or denial to improve your overall well-being. Here are some suggestions.
Understanding your condition can help demystify it and give you a sense of control over your health.
- Knowledge is power when it comes to health issues. Start by learning as much as you can about your condition, including symptoms and available treatments.
- Talk to healthcare professionals, attend support groups, and seek reliable sources of information online or in books.
Don’t go through this journey alone. Reach out to friends, family, or a support group of individuals who are experiencing similar health issues.
- Sharing your feelings and experiences with others who understand can provide emotional support and reduce feelings of isolation.
- Consider talking to a therapist or counselor who specializes in health-related issues if you’re struggling with acceptance.
Be kind and gentle with yourself. It’s natural to feel a range of emotions, including anger, frustration, or sadness, when dealing with SUD-related health conditions.
- Acknowledge your feelings without judgment, and remind yourself that it’s okay to have these emotions.
- Practice self-care and engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation to help manage stress and improve your emotional well-being.
Set Realistic Goals
Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation: it’s finding balance between acknowledging your health issue and working towards the best possible outcome.
- Set achievable goals that align with your health condition and celebrate small victories along the way.
- Focus on what you can control, such as adhering to your treatment plan, making lifestyle adjustments, and maintaining a positive mindset.
Remember, acceptance is a process, and it may take time to reach a point where you fully accept the state of your health and how it impacts your future.
How Willingway Can Help
As one of the premier addiction rehabilitation facilities in Georgia, Willingway has extensive resources to help you regain quality health. Our medically managed addiction detoxification program starts with an extensive evaluation to first determine each individual’s health status. This critical whole-person approach by our board-certified staff provides a foundation of recovery that helps stabilize someone’s mind and body in preparation for healing. Don’t let the complications of current illness or disease keep you or a loved one from the future benefits of substance-free health—call us today to learn how we can help.