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How Alcohol Impacts Your Immune System

a woman fails to realize her immune system is actually being negatively impacted by her alcohol abuse as she is surrounded by germs

While alcohol is generally bad for your health, scientists are discovering the different ways in which alcohol and your immune system are closely linked. Consumption of alcohol can significantly weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to various diseases and persistent health conditions. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol use disorder, reach out to Serenity Grove Recovery’s alcohol rehab in Georgia today.

Alcohol has detrimental effects on several organs in the body, especially the liver and stomach. It can also weaken your body’s natural defenses against infections, making you more prone to flu and other sicknesses. To learn more about substance abuse treatment near you, call us today at 844.904.3485.

How Alcohol Impacts Your Immune System

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), drinking regularly or in large amounts has far-reaching effects on the body’s immune system. Thus, the consumption of alcohol and your immune system health are inextricably linked in the following ways:

  • Binge drinking can affect the body’s natural defenses for up to 24 hours. This makes a person more prone to infections during that time.
  • Although the liver can heal itself, prolonged alcohol consumption results in the build-up of scar tissue, which can lead to fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, or cirrhosis of the liver. While the first two conditions can be fixed, the latter is irreversible.
  • It can affect the working of one’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which includes the stomach and intestines. It alters the balance of good vs. bad bacteria in the GI tract, leading to IBS, diabetes, food allergies, and so on.
  • According to research, alcohol can affect the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, weakening one’s immune system and lowering the count of white blood cells, which are essential in combating infections.
  • It can even damage the lung’s defense system, increasing the chances of contracting pneumonia, tuberculosis, and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
  • Alcohol also increases the risk of cancer.

The most common consequences of a weakened immune system include the following:

  • Auto-immune disorders
  • Blood abnormalities
  • Skin infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Meningitis
  • Bronchitis

Thus, alcohol can severely impair your immune system, which can lead to several practical complications such as:

  • Falling sick more often than your peers
  • Taking a longer time to recover from the common cold and other infections
  • More frequent and longer hospitalization visits
  • Difficulties in recovering from a traumatic injury
  • Increased dosage of medications for effective treatment
  • Developing chronic health conditions
  • Higher risk of developing fatal complications that may lead to sepsis and multiple organ failure

Alcohol use disorder does irreversible damage to various organs. In addition, it also adversely affects the body’s ability to heal itself from it. With a weakened immune system, one is far likelier to catch a viral or bacterial infection that might prove fatal under certain conditions.

However, it is possible to recover and reverse at least some of the damage of alcohol abuse on your health by seeking out professional treatment at a rehab facility at the earliest.

The Benefits of Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse

The benefits of seeking treatment for alcohol abuse are numerous. Depending on the degree of abuse, treatment may include individual and/or group counseling, inpatient or outpatient programs, medication as needed, and lifestyle changes. Treatment can help individuals identify underlying issues that contribute to their drinking problem, learn strategies to control cravings and triggers for drinking, develop better coping skills to deal with stressors without resorting to alcohol use, and repair relationships that have been damaged due to alcohol use.

In addition, therapy and rehabilitation programs provide a support system of like-minded individuals who are also working towards sobriety which can be a huge source of motivation. Through these programs, individuals can learn how to live life without relying on alcohol as a crutch. Regular meetings with a counselor or therapist can help keep individuals accountable and provide a safe space to talk about issues that may arise in recovery.

Getting help for alcohol abuse is not easy, but it can be life-changing. With the proper treatment, individuals can gain the strength and tools necessary to break free from addiction and build a successful new life. If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol abuse, it is important to get help as soon as possible. There is no time like the present to start taking control of your life and make positive changes in the pursuit of a healthier and happier lifestyle.

Recover From Alcohol Abuse At Serenity Grove

At Serenity Grove Recovery, we help citizens recover from their addictions and go on to live happier and healthier lives.

At our family-owned treatment center, we offer end-to-end care services, guiding our clients through residential treatment and outpatient programs while also offering lifelong continuing care services. We even have 24-hour nursing care for high-risk clients. No matter how severe the situation, our team of experienced and non-judgmental doctors and therapists will help you find practical solutions and effective coping mechanisms for all your issues.

Recovery is possible. Get the help you need by calling us at 844.904.3485 or filling out our online contact form today.