We all have our own reasons for wanting a healthier life: a new year’s resolution, a family history of disease that worries us, a breakup, or even just a sudden decision that it’s time to get healthy. But if you’re still drinking or using drugs, you’re likely to discover that your attempts at getting healthier aren’t as effective as you’d hoped. Why is that?
As the leading providers of any outpatient drug treatment for adults will tell you, drug and alcohol abuse is scientifically bad for the body and bad for the mind. They place great strain on the brain and rest of the body, and this makes it much more difficult to achieve goals related to improved health and fitness.
Drugs and alcohol impair your judgment
Drugs and alcohol are known to impair judgment. That’s one reason why driving while you’re under their influence is illegal. But it’s not just your ability to drive safely. They also affect your ability to judge how much food you’ve eaten, or how much you’ve had to drink. This can affect your ability to lose weight because you eat and drink more than you intend to, or should.
They also impair your judgment when it comes to exercise. If you’ve been drinking or using drugs before heading to the gym, you may overestimate what you can do, and end up causing yourself pain and injury. Those injuries can bench you from working out until you heal.
Drugs and alcohol influence your behavior
When you drink or use drugs, your impaired judgment leads you to engage in behaviors you otherwise might not. Most often, people think of things like driving while intoxicated, starting fights, or having dangerous sexual encounters while under the influence. But other behaviors can be affected, as well. Similar to the phenomenon known as distracted eating, the foods you choose to eat can be affected, and instead of choosing healthier options, you choose junk food. Instead of choosing to go to the gym, you’ll instead choose to sit on the couch and watch TV.
The interference of drugs and alcohol on your body systems
The effects of alcohol on the body are well known. Too much taxes your liver, your kidneys, and leads to weight gain. Losing weight is very difficult if you’re drinking on a regular basis. Drugs may have different effects than alcohol, but they still have negative effects throughout your body. The more you stress your body systems with drugs or alcohol, the harder it becomes to bounce back and get healthy.
A healthy lifestyle starts with cutting out drugs and alcohol. Any other steps, whether it’s changing the way you eat or going to the gym or anything else, will not be nearly as effective if you continue to drink or use drugs.
Giving up drugs and alcohol on your own may not be easy, and that’s okay. There are drug treatment options available, and those for alcohol as well. If you’ve decided it’s time to change your lifestyle and get healthy, asking for help can be the first step. With help and determination, you can put drugs and alcohol in your past.
You’ll reduce your risk of diabetes, coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, and various cancers by giving up drugs and alcohol. You’ll find it easier to lose weight, eat healthier, get more sleep, and exercise. All of these things will create a healthier lifestyle, one in which you feel rested, refreshed, energized and excited to go about each day.