Drugs are chemicals that work to alter or bypass certain body functions and systems in order to numb undesirable sensations and stimulate pleasurable sensations. Substance abuse, especially large volumes of substance abuse over a long period of time, can affect a body’s ability to function normally, and can therefore have a wide range of damaging effects on the individual’s body.
Alcohol Use and Cancer
Alcohol is a depressant drug that can slow an individual’s nervous system and bodily functions and lead to health problems, including changes in mood, concentration, judgment and coordination. Excessive alcohol abuse can lead to more serious health problems, including cancer. Some of cancers that alcohol is known to cause include cancer of the mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, liver, colon and rectum and breast. The amount of alcohol that is imbibed can increase the risk of cancer.
While alcohol alone can raise the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, voice box and esophagus, the risk is raised even further if the individual also smokes cigarettes. It is believed that alcohol may act as a solvent, working to help harmful chemicals get inside the cells. Because alcohol acts as a depressant, it can work to slow down the cells’ ability to repair the damage caused by tobacco chemicals.
The liver works to remove alcohol from the blood, but it cannot metabolize excessive amounts of alcohol. Long-term alcohol use in large quantities can cause liver damage, inflammation and cancer. The risk of breast cancer can be increased with only a few drinks a week. Alcohol appears to affect a woman’s estrogen levels, which is what leads to the increased risk of breast cancer.
Alcohol abuse has also been linked to an increased risk of colon and rectum cancer. One of the cancers often linked to alcohol abuse is colorectal cancer, an uncontrolled cellular growth in the colon or rectum. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the Nation and affects all racial and ethnic groups.
How to Reverse the Damage
It is possible to stop and even reverse some of the health damages caused by substance abuse, in some cases lowering one’s risk of cancer and other serious illnesses. Following are five steps to take in order to reverse health damages caused by substance abuse:
1. Abstain from drug use and abuse
If one is suffering ill effects due to drug and alcohol use, abstaining from their use is a vital component to regaining one’s health. The human body is quite capable of healing itself from many things, but not when there is continuous chemical interruptions from drugs.
2. Under medical guidance, begin a vitamin regimen
Substance abuse can cause a depletion of important vitamins and minerals. This depletion can handicap the body’s ability to repair itself, and it is therefore important that a medically recommended vitamin and mineral regimen is instituted.
3. Eat a healthy diet
It is not unusual for a substance abuser to forego regular and healthy meals. Since the body receives a lot of important nutrition from a healthy diet, maintaining one while also abstaining from further drug use can assist in reversing the health damages that had been caused.
Exercise is important for a body to remain healthy and strong. When trying to restore a healthy body following substance abuse, an individual can greatly benefit from exercising daily. Good exercise can also help the body flush out drug toxins and chemicals and restore normal operation.
One of the health damages of substance abuse is the damage to the individual’s mental and emotional health. Counseling delivered by a well-trained and experienced drug addiction specialist can help the individual learn why they began their drug use, and how they can take responsibility for their decisions.
When trying to abstain from substance abuse and restore the healthy balance of one’s body and mind, it is always wise to receive help and support. Finding a professional drug rehabilitation treatment facility and trained addiction specialists can allow an individual to achieve freedom from substance abuse and reverse the health damages that have been caused.