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How to Repair your Immune System After Getting Sober

During active addiction, you may not have noticed frequent illnesses, but now that you’re sober, you may wonder why you’re sick all the time. Addiction often causes people to neglect their health and hygiene and engage in risky behavior. This can lead to greater susceptibility to illness. Alcohol, in particular causes immune problems by lowering white blood cell counts and preventing the digestive system from absorbing nutrients properly. If you find yourself getting sick a lot, here are some suggestions.

See your doctor.

It sounds pretty obvious, but most people don’t go to the doctor for minor illnesses, even if they are frequent. Tell her your symptoms, including your substance use history. If you were an IV user, you will want to get tested for HIV and other infections if you haven’t been tested already. You may also be deficient in some vitamins and minerals. If you detox in a clinic, you typically get IV fluids to replace some of that lost nutrition, but it may not have been enough, or you may not have been able to sustain proper levels. Correcting glaring nutritional deficiencies is a good place to start.

Get enough sleep.

Getting enough quality sleep is sometimes hard early in recovery. Insomnia is a withdrawal symptom of most drugs and it may take a while to go away. Sleep is when your body does most of its maintenance work, including fighting infections, so if you don’t sleep enough, you are more likely to get sick. Try to get into a regular sleep schedule and find ways to relax as bedtime approaches. Don’t sit in bed looking at your phone or watching TV and wonder why you can’t sleep.

Pay attention to what you eat.

Try to eat fruit and vegetables with every meal and get as much variety as possible. Focus on eating real food and avoid junk. Sugar, in particular, has been linked with poor immune function. Try replacing soft drinks and sugary snacks with water or tea and fruit and see if you feel better. Dehydration makes you vulnerable to illness, so drinking plenty of water is a good idea anyway. It may take a while for eating better to translate into feeling better. Your digestive tract may have to heal and your gut bacteria has to adjust to a healthier diet.

Get some exercise.

Moderate exercise is great for the immune system and for feeling better in general. Exercise in nature is especially good, as plants produce compounds that improve your immune function and reduce stress. Don’t overdo it though, because very intense exercise can temporarily impair your immune system. Daily moderate exercise along with plenty of sleep and good food is best.

Limit your exposure.

While you’re healing and getting nutritionally balanced, it might be a good idea to limit your exposure to germs. Keep your house clean, especially the kitchen and bathroom. Don’t spend a lot of time in crowded places if you can help it. Wash your hands at reasonable intervals.

The best thing you can do for your health is get clean. The rest is details. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox safely and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at to learn more.