8 Ways Addiction Hurts The Body

8 Ways Addiction Hurts The Body

Addiction is known to be a complex medical issue which causes suffering on the physical, emotional and spiritual planes.  There are many different types of addiction and they all have an impact on all three of these aspects of the human life.  It is valuable to recognize that while the forms of addiction may have different consequences on the body, they all require that the physical healing occur before the internal resources become available for the depth recovery that is necessary on the emotional and spiritual planes.  

The following are some possible harms that the body may experience as an outcome of addictive behaviors.  There is some variance according to substance but these impacts are generally present in the early stages of recovery.  .  

  1. Brain: there are many impacts by addiction, including memory, the natural chemical balances and communications of the brain with the rest of the body, and the brain's role in motivating the person to healthy self-preservation activities.  
  2. Central Nervous system: the addictive ingestion of toxins causes a continuous state of fight-or-flight, causing the rest of the body to operate as if it is in a continuous state of danger.
  3. Weight fluctuations: fluctuations may be up or down, but both changes can have serious long-term effects on the quality of health and life expectancy.  
  4. Liver: the role of this organ is to filter and metabolize toxins.  When an excessive amount of toxins are present, it becomes over-used and susceptible to disease. It also plays a role with digestion and impacts to its optimal function also impact nutrient intake.
  5. Kidneys: play a critical role in removing toxins from the body and the cleansing of blood.  These functions are impacted by addictive substances.
  6. Mental health issues: sometimes people are using addiction as a coping for existing mental health issues and other times, the use of substances actives mental health issues that they were predisposed to.
  7. Accelerated aging: in many cases, addiction of all kinds simply accelerates the aging process by speeding up the process of cell death.  This process is a natural process yet, our addiction will speed up the timeline and take our vitality sooner than would naturally occur.   
  8. Digestion issues: addictions impact the ability of this system to uptake nutrients and can result in malnutrition.   


Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a harmonious approach to holistic treatment, bringing together the best of evidence-based, alternative, and 12-step therapies. Call us today for information on our transformation programs of treatment for addiction and alcoholism: 833-801-5483.

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Understanding The Important Role Of Toxic Shame In Addictive Behaviors

Toxic: poisonous
Shame: a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior
Toxic Shame: painful feelings of humiliation or distress which can feel like a poison

Toxic shame is venomous. Getting caught in a spell of toxic shame can feel like getting stung by a stingray or a bee. The pain is timid at first, then rapidly spreads and intensifies until it feels like it’s taken over everything. We can’t see past the pain. Such is the same with toxic shame.

Role of Toxic Shame
Understanding toxic shame as playing an important role in addictive behaviors is important. Shame and guilt, both of which can be toxic, are driving factors in addiction. Addiction is in many ways a symptom of obsession and compulsion. We obsess over the painful feelings of humiliation and distress which were given to us somewhere in the past. Eventually, that obsessive thinking becomes too painful to bear, compelling us to take part in a familiar behavior. Addictive behaviors of any kind, from substance abuse to eating disorders, are often coping mechanisms to deal with uncomfortable feelings. Even if they don’t start that way, they usually end up that way. Substances, along with non-substance reliant behaviors, produce a feeling of euphoric relief. Surging levels of dopamine help calm the anxiety, panic, pain, and negativity produced by toxic shame.

According to Shannon Bradley-Colleary, an online 12 step coach who often works with individuals in codependent relationships, “toxic shame is always learned in childhood.” The “consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior” which comes with shame has to be learned. When we are young, we learn best from our parents. Shannon writes that “one or both of our parents either neglected us, or abused us, or made us feel we were somehow wrong or that we should never express or even have negative emotions.” In such homes, difficult feelings like anger, sadness, or fear are often shamed, rejected, and ridiculed. This isn’t because there was anything wrong with our feelings or why we were feeling them. Unfortunately, that is the message we receive. Truly, we had people in our lives who were insufficiently prepared to handle such feelings coming from a child. Most likely, they were ill-equipped to handle those feelings themselves.

Healing shame and codependency or other manifestations of shame is important for recovering from addiction and other addictive behaviors. Enlightened Solutions uses a range of clinical, 12 step, and holistic healing treatments to aid the grief process, create new coping mechanisms, and heal the pain of toxic shame while supporting recovery. For information on our partial care programs of treatment, call 833-801-5483.