When your body faces an illness, whether it’s a case of the flu or a tumor, the immune system responds, often sending copious white blood cells to the inflamed area and shutting down other functions in order to apply all resources to overcoming the illness.
When addiction is the illness in question, your immune system responds in a similar manner. Your personality changes as your body focuses on dealing with repercussions of chronic drug and alcohol abuse, and your ability to fight off other ailments is diminished as well. And when you stop taking your drug of choice, watch out. The body responds with a host of withdrawal symptoms that vary patient to patient but often look a lot like physical illness.
So how best can we manage the impact that chronic drug and alcohol abuse – and the strain of detox – take on the body in recovery?
Building Up Your Immune Response
Dealing with withdrawal symptoms is not like fighting off the flu, no matter how similar the symptoms may appear in some cases. You can’t take zinc lozenges to shorten your experience in detox or overload on vitamin C and expect to positively impact your body’s ability to fight off the effects of addiction.
However, the concept of increasing your body’s ability to flush out the toxins that have built up during drug use and more swiftly move toward physical stability in abstinence is a solid one. Feeling bad physically is one of the biggest reasons people relapse in early recovery, giving up before they really have a chance to get started. Working to feel better can provide positive focus and every little bit of positivity helps during this difficult time.
In order to fend off relapse and give yourself every opportunity to succeed, there are a number of little changes you can make that will help the process along and ease your experience along the way, including:
- Drink lots of fluids. Staying hydrated can make sure that your body has the ability to flush out toxins, improve mood, and move more quickly toward full detox.
- Eat, but eat well. Some people gorge themselves during the first weeks of recovery; others feel so poorly that they have no appetite. It’s important to eat but to focus on good nutrition. You need fruits, vegetables and protein to make sure that you have a range of nutrients as well as the energy to get through the detox process but limited amounts of sugar, saturated fats, and processed foods.
- Get gentle exercise. This is not the time to start training for a marathon, but yoga, long walks, swimming, and other gentle physical activities can help you to feel better and sleep better as you heal.
- Give and get support from others. Detox is not easy, which is why it is recommended that those who undergo the process do so in an inpatient treatment facility. Here you can get the support you need from substance abuse treatment professionals and peers going through the same issues as you get closer and closer to a place of balance in recovery.
Don’t wait to get started on the rehabilitation experience that can change your life. Contact us at Alta Mira now to learn more about the options we provide in detox and addiction treatment.