Inflammation is one of the body’s most important defense mechanisms. It is activated when the body recognizes damaged cells, irritants and pathogens. With repeated use of drugs and alcohol, the body is under a constant state of inflammation that can lead to dozens of health problems.
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce inflammation and promote a healthy recovery. The key is to seek help at a Phoenix addiction treatment center and stop the cycle of substance abuse. Let’s learn more about inflammation and how to reverse its effects.
What is Inflammation and Why is it Bad?
Inflammation is the body’s way of dealing with injuries and foreign pathogens. When inflammation occurs, the white blood cells release chemicals into the body to protect it from foreign substances. The chemicals also increase blood flow and nutrients to the affected area so that it can heal. When you see an area that is red, swollen and hot, this is a sign of inflammation.
However, inflammation isn’t always a good thing. It has a destructive potential as well. For example, when the body attacks its own tissues, a person may develop an autoimmune condition like lupus or type 1 diabetes. Whole-body inflammation is a lower level of inflammation, but it is chronic. It’s believed to be the precursor to diseases like type 2 diabetes, joint problems, pancreatitis, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
As you can understand, using drugs and alcohol can easily lead to chronic inflammation. Not only do the substances create inflammation, but also people who abuse substances tend to lead sedentary lifestyles. By quitting drugs and alcohol, you can get clean and sober while reversing your risk for certain diseases.
7 Strategies for Reducing Whole-Body Inflammation
Here are seven effective strategies for reducing inflammation in the body.
- Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Eat a typical recovery diet that consists largely of fresh fruits and vegetables, plant-based proteins, whole grains and healthy fats. These foods contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that fight inflammation in the body. Some of the best anti-inflammatory foods include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids
- Spices like rosemary, turmeric and ginger
- Olive oil and garlic
For many recovering addicts, healthy eating takes time. To jumpstart a nutritious diet, our drug rehab in Phoenix provides access to IV therapy, supplements and nutritional support. We encourage all clients to use these services to build up essential vitamins and nutrients in their bodies.
- Avoid Unnecessary Medications
Taking too many antibiotics and aspirin products can alter the healthy bacteria in your gut. Damage to your gut can lead to leaky gut syndrome, a digestive condition that creates more inflammation. Once your gut is leaky, more particles are able to enter the bloodstream. As you’re learning, the more foreign substances that raid your body, the more inflammation is created.
Here are five medications that are most widely known for causing leaky gut syndrome:
- Birth control
- Acid-reducing drugs
Medication is not always bad, and you may need to be on some of these medications for specific reasons. However, it’s always a good idea to discuss treatment options with your doctor. Avoiding some of these medications, especially when they aren’t necessary, can promote a healthy gut. And, learning to manage symptoms using alternative therapies can protect you from relapse.
- Exercise Regularly
Research shows that regular exercise reduces inflammation in the body. It doesn’t matter what you do – the key is to be active. Set aside time each day to walk, lift weights, dance, swim or run through the neighborhood. The best part is – it doesn’t have to be much!
According to one study, just 20 minutes of exercise is enough to have anti-inflammatory benefits. Because exercise stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate are all increased. The body also releases feel-good chemicals in the brain and bloodstream.
- Reduce Your Exposure to Toxins
Your body creates inflammation when it comes into contact with foreign substances. To be on the safe side, use all-natural beauty and cleaning products when you can. When shopping for foods, buy organic versions of items on the dirty dozen list. Anything you can do to reduce your exposure is helpful.
Here are some of the best ways to reduce toxic exposure:
- Choose glass over plastic for storing foods
- Avoid heating food in plastic containers
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water
- Dust and vacuum your home often
- Filter your tap water
- Avoid artificial fragrances
- Choose organic and fresh foods over processed foods
- Avoid foods that are artificially sweetened, flavored and colored
- Get Adequate Rest
Getting enough sleep at night reduces inflammation and supports a healthy body. By getting a full night’s rest, your body is able to heal and repair itself. Also, recent studies show that sleep plays a vital role in removing toxins from the brain that build up while you are awake. By allowing your body to recover and eliminate toxins, you can effectively fight inflammation.
Try to get at least seven hours of sleep each night. To stay on a consistent schedule, go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning, even on weekends. Taking part in an outpatient rehab in Phoenix will help you develop a more structured routine.
- Spend Time Outdoors
Vitamin D is good for the mind and body, and the best way to get it is from the sun. Spend at least 10 to 15 minutes outdoors each day. Being outside in nature boosts the mood and serves as the perfect backdrop for a quick meditation or yoga session.
Many treatment centers are located in warm, sunny states that offer ample opportunities for outdoor engagement. Spending time in forests, hiking in mountains or walking along the beach can have significant health benefits that cannot be overlooked. Plus, you can burn off extra calories and maintain a healthy weight, which also lowers inflammation.
- Be Mindful of the Mind-Body Connection
Mind-body therapies reduce inflammation markers, so don’t look at them as being luxuries. A massage or tai chi session can lower inflammation and enhance your mood. The more you understand and respect the mind-body connection, the more you can promote healing.
Continuum Recovery Center offers a whole list of holistic treatments that we encourage all clients to try. Our goal is to address their physiological, emotional and spiritual needs. As we watch clients grow stronger in their recoveries, they are able to support their physical health as well.
If you don’t like something that you’ve tried, try it again or find something new! There are treatment modalities for everyone to enjoy at our rehab in Phoenix.
Inflammation Can Be Treated and Reversed
Abusing substances takes a toll on the body, and increased inflammation is just one example. When you stop using drugs and alcohol, you can start the healing process. However, chronic inflammation won’t just go away on its own. You must actively work at improving your health and wellness by following the strategies above. By doing so, you can recover from your addiction and also lead a healthy lifestyle that supports long term sobriety.
To heal your mind, body and spirit, call Continuum Recovery Center today. Your call is confidential. We’re here to help you. You deserve to feel good.
Geffen has been in the field for over 20 years, and has worked in every facet of substance abuse treatment. Using his own personal experience in recovery and the education he has learned while in the field, Geffen can relate and connect with clients in a way that promotes recovery, self love and the desire for clients to achieve the best for themselves. Geffen is licensed in Arizona as a substance abuse counselor and has an IC&RC certification, as well as a life coaching certification.