The Effects of Addiction

Addiction weakens the body, making it more vulnerable to disease and infection. Here are a few specific correlations between substances and what they can do to the human body:

  • Tobacco puts us at risk for heart disease, lung disease, and some cancers
  • Alcohol increases the risk of heart, liver, and pancreas issues and some cancers
  • Inhalants can cause bone marrow, kidney, and liver damage, and hearing loss
  • Methamphetamine can leave to cardiac damage, convulsions, tooth and gum disease, and more
  • Cocaine is linked to heart attacks and stroke, along with increased vulnerability to infections
  • Substance use impairs judgement and leaves many susceptible to HIV and other STDs.


Malnutrition is a condition caused when our bodies don’t take in all the nutrients necessary to maintain health. Millions of people in the United States are malnourished, not because they don’t get enough food, but because what they eat doesn’t supply their body with what it needs to operate efficiently. This is how someone can be simultaneously obese and malnourished.

Malnutrition is common among substance users who typically don’t eat well, and because many substances actively deplete the body of key nutrients. Alcohol, for example, is said to cause deficiencies in 10 vitamins and minerals. This is why Re(dis)covery Wellness places such a high priority on meeting the nutritional needs of the people we work with.

The Effects of Malnutrition

Some of the many ways malnutrition can negatively impact the body include:

  • muscle cramps and loss of muscle
  • loss of bone density
  • loss of cognitive (brain) function including speech and memory
  • increased risk of illness and infection
  • increased recovery time from illness and infection
  • anemia
  • increased cramping and menstrual issues
  • depression and anxiety
  • vision loss due to glaucoma, cataracts, or macular degeneration
  • breathing difficulty
  • increased risk of hypothermia
  • decreased sex drive
  • decreased fertility


Stress is one of the most common triggers for engaging in addictive behavior. Left untreated, stress can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Unchecked stress can show itself in a variety of physical ways, including:

  • Muscle tension
  • headache
  • chest pain
  • stomach upset
  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • sleep issues
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • restlessness
  • lack of focus

Re(dis)covery Wellness puts an emphasis on active – rather than sedentary – stress management options.