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How Does Addiction Affect the Mind, Body, and Spirit?

Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that affects people from all walks of life. It is often referred to as a tri-fold disease because it affects the mind, body, and spirit in various painful and devastating ways. Drug and alcohol abuse place you in a toxic cycle of binging, craving, drug-seeking, and binging again. Over time, this cycle becomes increasingly more important in your life, and it begins coming before other things you care about such as your family, your career, or your education. Then, when you try to stop using substances and get sober, you are met with intense cravings, painful withdrawal symptoms, and anxiety and depression that feel insurmountable.

While you are busy trying to control, maintain, or hide your addiction, everything else gets pushed to the wayside. You stop taking care of your physical health, you are altering your brain chemistry which affects your mental health, and you block yourself from developing a spiritual connection with a higher power, the world around you, and your own desires.

In order to heal from addiction, you must understand the various ways that addiction affects the mind, body, and spirit. Then, during treatment, you must adequately address these three areas of your life to maintain long-term recovery.

Addiction and the Mind

The mind is one of the first parts of the self to be affected by the disease of addiction. The first time you used your drug of choice, you likely did so because you were experimenting with substances, feeling peer pressured, or looking for some type of relief or temporary fix for something wrong in your life. When the drugs make you feel better once, you decide to turn to them again and again.

Drugs and alcohol disrupt the regular transmission of signals and messages from the brain to the rest of the body. It also affects the chemical balances in your brain. This can result in symptoms of anxiety, depression, or stress.[1]

Over time, your mind becomes more and more dependent on substances to function normally. Without your drug of choice, you may find yourself increasingly moody, agitated, or angry over small instances. And, when you experience any of these unpleasant feelings, the first place your mind turns to is substances. This causes you to habitually seek the first few highs you obtained because you are looking for relief.

As addiction ravages your mind, the natural levels of dopamine and serotonin in your system will become depleted, and you may find yourself more depressed or anxious than ever before. Not only that, but you also begin struggling with decision-making and impulse control.[2] Eventually, your addiction becomes all that you care about, and it consumes a lot of mental space in your head.

Addiction and the Body

The more addicted the mind gets, the more addicted the body gets, as well. The longer you abuse a substance, the more your body comes to rely on it to function normally. As a result, if you stop using a substance you are addicted to, your body will go into withdrawal. Depending on the substance you are addicted to, these symptoms can range from mild to moderate flu-like symptoms to life-threatening symptoms like seizures, delusions, or suicidal thoughts.

Addiction affects the body in more ways than just causing physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms. It can also cause short and long-term adverse health effects, including, but not limited to:[3,4]

  • Drug overdose
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Malnutrition
  • Skin infections
  • Transmissible diseases like HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C
  • Liver damage or failure
  • Tooth decay
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Damage to the nasal passages (if you are snorting drugs)
  • Vein collapse, vein damage, and skin abscesses/infection (if you are injecting drugs)
  • Damage to the lungs (if you are inhaling or smoking drugs)
  • Gastrointestinal problems

The list of ways addiction can harm the body is endless and it varies greatly depending on what substance you are using. However, one thing is for certain–you could end up with permanent and life-changing problems as a result of addiction.

Addiction and the Spirit

Your spirit refers to your thoughts, feelings, emotions, personality, and beliefs. It is unique to you and is what sets you apart from everyone else on the planet. Many people who struggle with addiction have had their spirit hurt in one way or another, whether it be from trauma, emotional pain, abuse, or pure exhaustion from trying to maintain their addiction.

Unfortunately, when addiction damages the soul, many people look for a way to cope. They usually cope using drugs and alcohol, which further damages their spirit, and decreases their hopes of ever living a sober life.

The good news is with the right treatment, anyone can heal their mind, body, and spirit from the effects of addiction.

Healing The Mind, Body, and Spirit After Addiction With Holistic Treatment

Here at Mandala Healing Center, we understand the different ways the mind, body, and spirit are affected by addiction, and our treatment program aims to help heal each aspect of the self. Our holistic rehab program combines therapy for the mind, exercise and nutrition for the body, and meditation and therapeutic healing for the soul to help you attain a full, lasting recovery.

Don’t let addiction dictate your life any longer. Call now to begin the journey towards recovery.